SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft announced Monday it was launching a music service which offers free streaming for computers and tablets with the new Windows operating system to be launched this month.
The Xbox Music service will allow users to stream custom-created playlists for free, along with music subscriptions and downloads, which will be managed in the Internet cloud to enable access on tablets, PCs, phones and television.
Microsoft said the new service will be "on par with iTunes," the leading music service from Apple, with a global catalog of more than 30 million songs.
It will begin rolling out around the world this week on Xbox 360 and later this month on Windows PCs and tablets and on mobile phones.
"The launch of Xbox Music is a milestone in simplifying digital music on every type of device and on a global scale," said Don Mattrick, president of interactive entertainment at Microsoft.
"We're breaking down the walls that fracture your music experiences today to ensure that music is better and integrated across the screens that you care about most -- your tablet, PC, phone and TV."