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Rebranding XBox Music: Can Microsoft get its Groove back?

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Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

(Read caption) A Microsoft Xbox video game logo is seen at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles, Calif., June 17.

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A Microsoft rebranding effort has resulted in the renaming of several entertainment apps and services, Tech Times reported. Xbox Music has become Groove, and Xbox Video is now Movies & TV.

Microsoft said the name changes highlight tweaks that will make the apps more user-friendly when the changes roll out with the new Windows operating system at the end of the month.

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“Groove describes what people feel and do with music, and is more intuitive for our Windows 10 customers on what they’ll find with the app,” the company wrote in a blog post.

Same goes for Movies & TV: the rechristening is meant to make “the content in the app more identifiable for our broad customer base.”

Once Xbox Music officially becomes Groove, many of the app’s basic functions will stay the same: TechTimes reported that users will still be able to access their music from multiple devices and stream songs ad-free with an Xbox Music Pass subscription (to be duly renamed Groove Music Pass).

Changes will mostly involve the app’s interface: Microsoft says menus and navigation will be easier to use on both mouse/keyboard and touch-screen devices. Users will also be able to customize the colors and theme of the app.

Microsoft announced the changes in its blog post Monday afternoon, but the app’s new name has already caused some confusion in the tech community.

According to ZDNet, a similar app by the company Zikera already exists, called Groove: Smart Music Player. The overlap in name and in function might suggest Microsoft has purchased Zikera, however, ZDNet reported there is no indication so far that this is the case.

The name Groove goes back even further than that: TechSpot reported that back in 2005, Microsoft bought the software maker Groove Networks, gaining access to a product called Groove that Microsoft changed to SharePoint Workspace.

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Music & TV will also feature updates to become more mouse/keyboard- and touch screen-friendly, Microsoft said, and support will be added for more file formats. Like Groove, the app will be accessible from multiple devices and will be integrated with the Windows Store.