Microsoft announces iTunes clone -

Software giant Microsoft's cunning plan to copy Apple has kicked off with the announcement of an iTunes clone.

This is the second time that Microsoft has had a crack at copying iTunes. It failed dismally with its Zune entertainment system after getting the thumbs down by the Tame Apple press for not being blessed by Steve Jobs.

This time, Microsoft is building on the success of its Xbox console as its selling point.

Microsoft has announced that Xbox Music, which will be a digital music service, will be available for its Xbox game consoles from tomorrow.

The press release said that the service will be expanded to Windows software-based computers and tablets, including the upcoming Surface tablet, from October 26, after the arrival of Windows 8. Then it will be rolled out to phones.

It seems that Microsoft has just realised that its attempts to turn the Xbox into an entertainment hub might provide it with the basis to give Apple a run for its money. More than 67 million units have been sold since 2005, and Vole reasons that these could provide the core users for the new service.

It has been slow off the mark. Vole first twigged that Xbox users were spending half to 60 percent of their time on entertainment services rather than video gaming about 18 months ago.

The X-Box streams Netflix, ESPN and other channels and is bolstering its service with music and other video content.

Under the plan Microsoft will offer a free ad-supported music streaming service, and a premium $9.99 subscription service for unlimited, ad-free streaming.

You will be able to download-to-own music store with over 30 million songs in its global catalog, which is more than iTunes' library of over 26 million songs. It also carries over 70,000 music videos, available only on the Xbox console.

Microsoft is providing cloud-storage features similar to iTunes and Amazon Cloud Player and an artist-based radio function like music streaming services Pandora and Spotify. It will be available in 22 countries.