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Bach to take charge of Microsoft's music biz

Microsoft's chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach is to add another string to his bow, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that he will take control of the company's digital music business with a view to challenging the dominance of Apple's iTunes.

Microsoft's chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach is to add another string to his bow, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that he will take control of the company's digital music business with a view to challenging the dominance of Apple's iTunes.

Bach's primary role will continue to be in the Xbox division, and Microsoft has stressed that he won't be distracted from his current task of preparing the Xbox 360 for its ambitious worldwide launch later this year.

However, he'll now also be casting his eye over the firm's digital music endeavours - which are currently spread out between a number of different divisions and are being roundly thrashed in the marketplace by Apple's iPod and iTunes offerings.

Part of his strategy in this regard is almost certainly going to be to focus on the Xbox 360 as a hub for digital music, promoting the platform as a way of accessing the MSN Music download service - Microsoft's answer to the iTunes Music Store.

Bach, a 16 year veteran of Microsoft, was already co-chairman of the company's consumer leadership team, and it's under the auspices of that role that he's been handed this new responsibility by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

He'll face an uphill struggle, though. MSN Music lags far behind Apple's iTunes service, while Microsoft-supporting music players are far less popular than the iPod devices - and rival firm Sony is also planning a stronger presence in the market for its Connect music store, which is likely to be supported by its new portable players, by the PlayStation Portable and by the forthcoming PlayStation 3 home console.

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Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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