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Microsoft music biz bolstered by Bach

Ballmer backs Xbox boss in attempt to boost music business.


Characterizing the move as a shot across the bow toward Apple and its user-friendly iPod MP3 player and iTunes digital music store, the Wall Street Journal today is reporting that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will soon put Xbox boss Robbie Bach in charge of the company's digital music business.

The appointment, not yet officially announced, will see the 16-year Microsoft veteran on a "mission to make Microsoft's new Xbox a hub for handling digital music."

Already, the company touts the Xbox as the centerpiece of a home network that facilitates the storage and showing of digital photographs. On the music front, however, Microsoft has substantially less street cred than Apple--with the Xbox's abilities to facilitate the downloading, storage, and repurposing of music as something of an afterthought--with little to no traction among consumers of the device.

The upcoming move is designed to give Microsoft's agenda in the digital music space more visibility and greater standing.

Citing only "people familiar with the matter," the Journal says Bach is "expected to be given the authority to push for a range of changes, such as setting up a team focused solely on digital music, reorganizing product groups, or acquiring companies." The iPod continues to grow its already dominant 80 percent share of the digital music-player market.

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