According to Microsoft, it has approached Apple about creating a version of Apple’s iTunes client for Windows 8 devices.
That news comes by way of Tami Reller, chief financial officer of the Windows Division. In an interview with CNN Money, Reller further elaborated on Microsoft’s efforts to get Windows 8 and Windows RT users access to the world’s largest music store, saying “iTunes is in high demand” and that “the welcome mat has been laid out. It’s not for lack of trying.”
This would be the first we’ve heard of Microsoft actively trying to work with Apple to bring a Metro version of iTunes to users of Windows 8. Currently, Windows 8 users have to navigate to the desktop before they can use iTunes, something Microsoft is actively trying to cut down on if recent leaks of its Blue update to Windows 8 are any indication.
In addition to being an inconvenience, there’s also the issue of compatibility. While loading iTunes in the desktop is an added inconvenience for users of Windows 8 on traditional devices like laptops and desktops, tablets that use Microsoft’s Windows RT operating system can’t use the application at all, even though they have access to the desktop.
It’s interesting that Microsoft would choose to publicly address iTunes being missing from the Windows Store as it highlights some key issues that Windows 8 and Windows RT faces.
Windows 8 applications take a fundamentally different approach than that of applications traditionally built to run on Windows for the last decade or so do. Apps for the platform operate in a sandbox and, for the most part, can’t communicate with each other outside the methods that Microsoft makes available.
The Windows version of iTunes has never actually consisted of one program in the traditional sense. Instead, when a user installs iTunes the installer also installs Apple’s QuickTime. It’s actually QuickTime that handles all of the media playback, iTunes only acts as the front-end and store.
Apple, like many other developers, would need to fundamentally approach the way they build iTunes from the ground up.
For its part, users of devices running Windows 8 and Windows RT can use Microsoft’s Xbox Music and Xbox Video to replace most of the functions that iTunes currently provides, however those functions don’t include playback of video purchased from iTunes. Users also can’t sync to their iOS powered devices like the iPad and iPhone.
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