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Apple is reportedly a huge fan of Metro and is "borrowing" its design, but won't help Windows 8 out

Windows 8 has its fair share of detractors, but its latest struggle has been with a snub from Apple, Inc. (AAPL).  While Apple designers are reportedly looking towards a "flatter" UI for iOS 7 a la the Metro/Windows 8 UI, they don’t appear to be in any rush to bring out a Metro version of iTunes for Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Windows 8 operating system.

Microsoft's Windows chief financial officer Tami Reller complains, "You shouldn't expect an iTunes app on Windows 8 any time soon.  ITunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It's not for lack of trying."

While Apple has not officially dropped support for the Windows platform -- its largest iTunes customer base -- it's not putting much effort into it either.  Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro users can still access the legacy iTunes, but only in desktop mode.  Windows RT users (not that there are many of them -- reportedly only 200,000 Windows RT tablets sold in Q1 2013) can't access iTunes at all, as Windows RT only runs Microsoft-approved apps compiled to run on the ARM architecture.

While Ms. Reller says that Microsoft firmly believes in its first-party Xbox Music app, she acknowledges that Apple's music store remains the most popular digital music store.  That's why she's so frustrated at the snub.

Xbox Surface

Despite (relatively) weak sales of Microsoft's first-party Surface Pro and Surface RT tablets, Apple is reportedly concerned that designing a Metro app could make the playing field a little too level between the iPad and Surface.

So far 100 million Windows 8/RT licenses have been sold, so there's probably > 50 million Windows 8/RT users in the wild to be conservative.  That's a lot of customers to overlook.

It remains to be seen whether the move backfires on Apple.  After all, Windows users have access to other digital music stories such as Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Play music store and Amazon.com, Inc.'s (AMZN) Amazon MP3 service -- both of which are reportedly working on Metro editions of their music marketplace apps (Google recently released a Metro edition of its YouTube app, so it knows a thing or two about developing for the platform).  And then there's Microsoft's own bundled offering.

If Apple refuses to play ball with Metro, it may see purchases from Windows users decline.  And while Apple typically would cheer at Microsoft's loss, in this case that loss might be mutual.

Source: CNN Money





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