Microsoft scuttles plans for TV subscription service over high fees

Summary:There's been talk that Microsoft was working on a TV subscription service that would let consumers bypass pay TV providers and watch live programming on their Xbox 360 or other device. According to Reuters, that chatter was accurate, but any hopes viewers would have about a Microsoft TV have been dashed, as the tech Goliath has put the idea on the back burner.

There's been talk that Microsoft was working on a TV subscription service that would let consumers bypass pay TV providers and watch live programming on their Xbox 360 or other device. According to Reuters, that chatter was accurate, but any hopes viewers would have about a Microsoft TV have been dashed, as the tech Goliath has put the idea on the back burner.

As you might have guessed, Microsoft has temporarily abandoned the idea after the fees requested by TV networks proved too costly. That spoiled the company's plans to offer a monthly subscription service that might have included voice and motion control of your viewing choices. Instead, Microsoft continues to add streaming services to its Xbox Live platform, including those from cable companies themselves.

Microsoft's experience could help explain why we're still waiting for an Apple TV to hit the market. If Apple wants to create a similar ecosystem as was envisioned with Microsoft TV, it will need to wrangle with the various -- and no doubt costly -- fees that channels will insist on in order to allow their programming to be available outside of a cable or satellite provider's set-top box.

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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