Groove Remains a Weak Link for Microsoft Fans Moving to Android or iPhone

Posted on July 5, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Groove Music, iOS, Mobile, Windows 10, Windows Phones with 0 Comments

Groove Remains a Weak Link for Microsoft Fans Moving to Android or iPhone

Moving from Windows phone to Android or iPhone is a revelation for most Microsoft fans, since the software giant generally provides better coverage on these mobile platforms than it does on its own. But there’s one obvious exception to this rule: Groove Music, which is terrible on Android and iPhone.

This has created a curious and unwelcome situation where Groove is actually a much better experience on Windows phone—well, Windows 10 Mobile—than it is on rival platforms. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the experience on Android and iPhone should be better than that on Windows 10 Mobile. But I do think it should offer roughly the same experience, as is the case for the Office Mobile apps and some other apps that span each platform.

The thing is, I actually like Groove quite a bit. And with the addition of the Your Groove functionality, which provides Spotify/Apple Music-like music discovery functionality, Microsoft has finally addressed one of my long-standing complaints about the service, which has seemed out of step with the competition.

But the mobile app situation is problematic. Groove hasn’t been updated on Androidor on iPhone—since September 2015, and it shows. Visually, these two apps are basically identical to each other, but they look nothing like Groove on Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, the web, or Xbox One. Worse, they don’t offer the same functionality as we see elsewhere.

The Your Groove bit is of course new. But even before that update, the Android and iPhone versions of Groove lacked the niceties found on Windows 10/Mobile. For example, the main Groove menu on Android/iPhone has Playlists, Collection, and Radio items. But on Windows 10 Mobile, we see Your Groove, Albums, Artists, Songs, Playlists, Radio, Explore, and Now Playing.

And when you do take the extra step to get into your collection on Android/iPhone, you get Artists, Albums, Songs, and … Genres. Genres? That’s not a top-level item in other Groove apps. It’s a view filter.

And so it goes. When you release a limited app and then never update it, the world is going to leave you behind. That has clearly happened here.

But with Microsoft clearly interested in keeping Groove up to date, it really needs to fix—no, completely replace—its Groove apps on Android and iPhone. I really want to stick with Groove—I genuinely prefer it over Google Play Music, which I’ve been using lately on iPhone, Apple Music, or Spotify—but the lack of updates on the Android/iPhone side is alarming. Especially given how much the app has improved on Windows 10 Mobile. A year ago, that app was a joke.

So, Microsoft, please. Based on my email, I know I’m not alone here, and a high-quality Groove app would really help your customers stick in the Redmond fold. It’s overdue.  And my Groove Music Pass runs out in early 2017.

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