Microsoft did buy Groove, after all

Seven months after Microsoft rebranded its music player 'Groove,' the team behind the Groove music player app says Microsoft bought its technology.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

It was seven months ago that Microsoft rebranded its Xbox Music service to "Groove."


At the time of the rebranding, a number of us noted there already was a Windows Phone/Windows 8 music app in the Windows Store called "Groove Smart Music Player." That app was developed by a Montreal-based startup, Zikera.

Microsoft officials wouldn't comment back in July 2015 when asked if the company had bought Zikera. They still said nothing when it was discovered Microsoft bought two Groove-related domains from Zikera.

Cut to today, February 9. The Zikera founders blogged that Groove has been acquired by Microsoft. (Thanks to @WinObs for tweeting the link to the Zikera post.)

Update: My original blog post said Microsoft had bought Zikera. But one of Zikera's founders told me via e-mail Microsoft has only bought Groove and not Zikera itself. That's why I changed the blog post headline from my original.

"Microsoft acquired everything from Groove (technology and brand). We can't really comment more details on the deal however," said Zikera's CEO Tri Nguyen.

The post announcing that Groove had been acquired by Microsoft doesn't actually say when Microsoft bought the company. It does note, however that the pre-existing Groove player is no longer available for download. Current users may continue to use the app, but the team won't be updating it further, today's blog post says.

As some Microsoft history buffs will no doubt recall, this isn't the first time Microsoft bought something named Groove. Maybe it will be the last, but who knows....

I've asked Microsoft officials to verify the newest Groove acquisition, and am hoping to get an updated timeframe as to when.

Update (February 10): Like Zikera, Microsoft isn't saying much about this acquisition. From a spokesperson: "Microsoft acquired Zikera's Groove music app. We have nothing more to share."

Interestingly, neither company will say when Microsoft acquired this Groove music app and whether Microsoft is actually using the technology or only bought it to take the brand.

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