What do you do if you have a lot of money from owning the entire desktop computer market for decades, but people don’t buy as many if your phones as you wish they would?
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Clearly, you use some of that money to make your phone more attractive to consumers.
That’s the angle apparently being taken by Microsoft, which is fronting a year of ad-free Pandora for every Windows Phone 8 customer, according to my former colleague Matt Rosoff, the editorial director of CITEworld, who said this in a tweet just now.
His source: none other than Microsoft Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore (via Wired.com), who just said during Microsoft’s big Windows Phone 8 unveiling in San Francisco that Pandora would be available ad-free, for one year, to all Windows 8 owners starting in “early 2013.”
Pandora charges $3 per month for ad-free Pandora, or $36 per year. It’s not clear what Microsoft is paying Pandora to make this happen, but it could be as much as $36 for each Windows Phone 8 that it sells, if Microsoft is “paying retail,” as it were.
The strategy makes sense. Cash, it has. A popular mobile app platform? Not so much… but apparently it’s willing to spend significant amounts of money to make Windows Phone 8 a hit with consumers — even if it means adding some free competition for its own recently-revealed unlimited, on-demand and streaming radio service, Xbox Music, which also ships with Windows Phone 8.