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Bach to run MS music biz

X360 takes on 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.

As well as his current responsibility - namely, getting Xbox 360 out the door by the end of the year - Bach will 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.

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 - to the extent that there was something of a kerfuffle a few months ago when Microsoft execs were reported to be unhappy at the vast numbers of employees at the company's Redmond campus who were using iPods to listen to music in work.

Sony, which benefits from actually owning a rather successful music label of its own, 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 PlayStation 3.

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Rob Fahey

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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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