Apple is Bringing iTunes to the Windows Store!

Posted on May 11, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Windows 10 with 94 Comments

Apple is Bringing iTunes to the Windows Store!

Well, this was unexpected: Microsoft announced today that Apple will bring iTunes to the Windows Store.

That’s exciting in a way, since iTunes is the second most-used third-party Windows desktop application, behind Google Chrome.

But there are questions.

Key among them is how Apple intends to make this application available. My guess—no one is saying at the moment—is that Apple will simply use the Desktop Bridge technologies to contain iTunes in an AppX package. And that the firm won’t do any further customization work, nor will add UWP-specific features.

Another question is timing: Microsoft said that iTunes would arrive in the Store “later this year,” but hopefully that doesn’t mean “late this year,” as in “after the release of the Fall Creators Update.”

We can argue about the quality of iTunes, of course. And that this application is largely unnecessary these days because most people access media on smartphones and other devices, and not on Windows PCs. But you can’t argue with facts. And the popularity of iTunes is a fact. so this is great news, no matter how you slice it. Pardon the (Apple) pun.


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Comments (94)

94 responses to “Apple is Bringing iTunes to the Windows Store!”

  1. dallasnorth40

    Hell has frozen over and pigs are airborne.

  2. Demileto

    "Key among them is how Apple intends to make this application available. My guess—no one is saying at the moment—is that Apple will simply use the Desktop Bridge technologies to contain iTunes in an AppX package. And that the firm won’t do any further customization work, nor will add UWP-specific features."

    It's possible, but, honestly, given how close Microsoft's working with Apple to give Office users the best user experience on the latter's platforms I'd like to hope for a bit more effort on Apple's part in porting iTunes to the Windows Store. Really, unlike Office apps for iOS Microsoft did not have to add touch bar support to Office for Mac, but they did, the least Apple could do is improving iTunes' user experience and adding UWP features to it.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to Demileto:

      It doesn't matter but you do realize that iTunes will now be available on whatever next gen mobile device they are working on. That is a huge issue in itself and most likely the biggest win for MS.

  3. dstrauss

    With 500,000,000 Windows 10 devices (even if only 350,000,000 of those are PC's) - that is one heck of a market for Apple to ignore. If only 15% of those PC's subscribe to the individual Apple Music, that's over $600,000,000 annual revenue. Pretty easy to see why they'd want in on that cash cow.

    • Ezzy Black

      In reply to dstrauss:

      Hmm, yeah, but. There has always been a Win32 iTunes app (and it is horrible, I kill it mercilessly everywhere I see it). At this point that means only Windows phones and a few old Surface RT devices can't already install it.

      All this tells me is that it can now be installed on Windows 10 S (or will be).

  4. eeisner

    any chance there was a deal made, on or off the record, to bring iTunes to the Windows Store if MS brings Office to the iPad Pro?

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to eeisner:

      Most likely not. Its a no brainer that Apple will lose out to competitors that have competitive apps on Windows 10 - and while Groove is not on the radar they are wise not to be arrogant enough to ignore it. Groove is on every other platform....

  5. Bats

    Lol... Did I not say that everything that Paul thinks or "makes sense" to him, opposite outcome almost always occurs?

  6. Bats

    Uh.. Of course , you can argue facts. In my profession of law we do it all the time. The concept of actual truth is another story. However arguing facts, They have been doing that for centuries.

    I think Apple had no choice. Plus, the iTunes Store is only popular when it comes to Apple devices like the iPhone. With the popularity of the iPhone waning, Apple really had no choice but to ensure that there service is available to the masses. 

  7. John Scott

    I have iTunes on my iPhone obviously but beyond that the over bloated behemoth of a app hasn't been on my PC in a long time.

    Think I might have installed temporarily once to backup my iPhone for a update. I always think Apple does anything on Windows only half as good as for their own products. Probably for a good reason too.

  8. PincasX

    With Windows 10 S this isn't terribly surprising. Not having it in the Windows Store would ultimately just hurt Apple Music adoption and to a lessor extent other iTunes content. Kind of a no brainer to add it now that Microsoft it locking down their entry level OS.

    • thisisdonovan

      In reply to PincasX:

      This works on the assumption that people, in significant numbers, are going to buy devices with windows 10 S on it.... also, surely the majority who buy a computer with 10 S on it will upgrade to the full OS.

      I really doubt winodws 10 S has anything to do with their decision.

      • PincasX

        In reply to thisisdonovan:

        the only other assumption is that Apple expects Windows users as a whole to start using the store. I think that is more far fetched than Windows 10 S being successful. Seems like Apple is ensuring that their services are available to entire market. But would love to hear an alternative theory.

  9. mrdrwest

    Apple, with there D E E P pockets, can afford to create a rich UWP app for the desktop. Think of the PR they'll get.

    FLAME ON!!!

  10. tbtalbot

    Great news! Apple either makes iTunes into a UWP app or it goes into a container. Either way, it's a win because current iTunes is like a virus on your computer. It is intrusive and always asks for updates. My wife uses iTunes and we have a copy on an exiled and seldom used laptop because of this.

    When it comes to Chrome, that's up to Google to risk losing PC market share for their browser.

    I've got bigger problems with Amazon than Google. Really wish the kindle app was on UWP. Instead they nerfed the Windows 8 one (which was bad) and want people to use the old Win32 app.

  11. pjs37

    Well totally didn't see that coming. If Google brings Chrome the world is literally on the verge of ending...

    • bryan1up

      In reply to pjs37:

      I don't think it will happen if UWP browser apps are required to use the Edge rendering engine.

    • glenn8878

      In reply to pjs37:

      I wonder if intentionally blocking Chrome is supposed to have the effect of Google protesting and then Microsoft forced to allow Chrome and by extension other Google apps like Maps and YouTube. It didn't work yet.

  12. jimchamplin

    Told you I did!

  13. nbplopes

    Yes this was to be expected. iTunes and iCloud is already on Windows, supporting the App Store its just a natural progression as MS gets the technology around the App Store right.

  14. Waethorn

    They definitely have to work on it. Last time I tried to roll my own iTunes AppX, it crashed the Desktop Bridge.

  15. chaad_losan

    Holy crap!!! Apple is doing the unthinkable. Windows 10 S already has had an effect.

    • PeteB

      In reply to chaad_losan:

      Apple hasn't lifted a finger. MS begged them with a bag of cash for permission to convert the bloated Win32 iTunes into a UWP wrapper.

      No new code, just MS trying for the sixth year to create perception that the store is viable. But customers and developers see right through. It's still a trash dump with no UWP development happening. Just a few UWP wrappered fakeapps that won't run on anything but a PC.

      • mariusmuntensky

        In reply to PeteB:

        Yep...sad, but true. The fact that itunes will come to the Store will change nothing! 99% it will be just a convert not a full UWP app...MS continues to think that devs and users are stupid. Guess what MS? We ain't! UWP is doomed without your phone business and so is that ghost town store.

  16. crmguru

    Has hell frozen over yet? Snap Chat may be next.

  17. Brian560

    If there is one thing I dislike about Apple, its iTunes ! If you buy music with one Apple account, you cant combine it with another account. This is the one product where Apples exclusivity hurts their customer. Why cant they allow music purchases to be truly portable, no matter which Apple account they were purchased from or which vendor (Groove, Google, or Amazon). It would be great if I could import all of my music from varying accounts into one iTunes account. My greatest hope with Windows Phone was the ability to say goodbye to iTunes! Am I saying that Zune was really better?

  18. delorean

    From the consumer's point of view it would be awesome to be able to watch/listen to iTunes content from the xBox. If Apple did make this a UWP app it would be possible. For example while playing an xBox game being able to listen to music from iTunes.

    Its too bad UWP is always being dumped on. It is a really great developer experience and has the power and flexibility to make amazing Apps.

  19. Ugur

    Me personally, i could hardly care less for my personal usage. iTunes is a horrible app on mac and even way more horrible on windows. But it's a great win for MS in the media because the media treats it like iTunes is one of the top 5 most used apps on windows.

  20. rameshthanikodi

    Even for non-iTunes users, this is a good thing. The sheer clout from having iTunes in the Store will make developers think twice about coding their own stupid updaters and instead just put their app on the Store and take advantage of its updating functionality.

  21. wright_is

    It would be good, if Apple did re-work it. iTunes is such an antiquated piece of code, it is bloated, unstable and basically a piece of junk. But I guess they will take the easy option.

    At least if it is containerised, it shouldn't mess up the rest of the system.

    That said, there are better media players on WIndows and I haven't used it in a few years (since I swapped away from iPhone).

  22. bbold

    Exciting news! As a Mac and PC user, this is great news to me, and great news to students (and anyone) who purchase a Windows 10 S device and want to use iTunes. Paul: You mentioned on WW earlier that the app really doesn't hold value anymore, etc. One point you missed is iiTunes is also a music store, and that the iTunes Store actually offers cheaper and more competitive prices on music and movies (such as "complete my album", etc) which MS App Store and Groove does not (MS music prices are actually quite expensive! If you buy one song it will not allow you to purchase the rest of the album at a discount as iTunes does.) Also, if everything is included that will be beneficial to those of us with iTunes Match and/or Beats1 subscriptions...

    Mac hate from all aside, this is great and it will bring the younger crowd into the MS ecosystem, as well as hopefully bring other big party apps to the Windows Store, such as (hopefully) Chrome and whatever else people are using these days.

  23. cawoodstock

    I wonder if apple agreed to do this because MSFT brought office to all Apple products.

    • SenorGravy

      In reply to cawoodstock: I 'm thinking that it's just because Apple realizes 10 S and the Windows Store is the future of Windows and they need to be a part of that future, lest a competitor fill that role. That said...what if maybe Apple realizes Microsoft is on a roll and is getting it's act together and is nervous from the competition?

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to cawoodstock:

      If that were true, then theybsure dragged their feet. More likely they discussed Windows 10 S with MS and made a logical decision: Apple Music subscribers will end up with 10 S machines, so go where customers are.

      Pretty straightforward.

  24. kcarson97404

    Now if we could just get Amazon video to come out with a WIndows app.

  25. WayneRobinson

    OMG has Hell finally frozen over? Seriously, this is huge. If iTunes can make it to the Windows Store, anything can...

  26. BrickPrinter

    I never have figured out why one has to "beg pardon" for a pun or use that silly expression "No pun intended". A pun is an integral part of the language. If you create one intentionally or unintentionally, own up to it. Let the reader decide what is good and what is bad. WS sure was a fan of them. And if good enough for the bard, it is good enough for me. Paul has come up with some pretty good ones over the years. And that one was good, but really did not need the explanation.

  27. Waethorn

    Here's the first step to the end of Windows 10 Home.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Well, that would work if buying a PC with Windows 10 Pro preinstalled would cost the same as Windows 10 Home preinstalled does now. The free upgrade from S to Pro is just temporary.

  28. MikeCerm

    Apple is smart, and they know that 80% of iTunes users use iTunes on a PC, so this is basically a necessary move for them. Just as it would be a smart move for Google to port Chrome. 80% of Chrome users are probably using it on PC, so they need to do what it takes to ensure that Chrome is available to the largest possible audience. Likewise, it's down to Microsoft to drop the dumb requirement that Store apps use Edge's rendering engine so Google, Firefox, and Opera can get ported to the Store, and they might actually have a usable system.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to MikeCerm:

      You do realize that Microsoft is just using the same requirement Apple has for iOS, use the built in rendering engine or you can't be on our OS. And, somehow, Google was just fine building an iOS version of Chrome that uses Safari for rendering.

      • Boris Zakharin

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Safari's rendering engine is very close to Chrome's, so Chrome can still more or less reproduce its behavior from elsewhere. Edge's rendering engine is a descendant of IE. Chrome using that engine would be meaningless. It's just Edge with custom chrome (no pun intended).

        • John Scott

          In reply to Boris Zakharin: Trident refresh isn't much better for Edge than IE 11 in my opinion. Least not in reliability and speed, sometimes I still think IE 11 is faster at times then Edge. I can't see Google doing a Chrome app and have to use Edge engine to make it work. Maybe Firefox is desperate enough, but they abandon web app in Win 8 pretty quickly. Not having Chrome on 10S would mean a advantage for Chrome and Chromebooks. Considering that Chrome has a huge market share and Edge does not.

          • jrickel96

            In reply to John Scott:

            Except no one loves Chrome or cares about it. It's just what they use and they're happy to switch if another browser suits their needs. Fact is, a lot of people had Chrome pre-installed in the past thanks to Google paying for the pre-install. They use it on their Android phones, etc because it's pre-installed. It has some nice features, none of which cannot be replicated in Firefox, Opera, or Edge.

            I talk and work with a bunch of normal people. They don't care if they use Chrome. They just use it because they've been trained to use. Just like they were trained to use IE in the past.

            I think it would be wise to bring Edge cross platform for syncing, but I've seen very little diehard loyalty to Chrome. Most that are diehards are because of the extensions - and those can be replicated. The pinned pages can be too.

            And I do use Chrome everyday myself, but I'm open to not using it. iTunes, OTOH, I have made a monetary investment in over time. I have Apple Music. I have songs that I bought that were DRM. I have movies in there. Nothing keeps me truly tied to Chrome. I can just as easily use Firefox or Safari on my iPhone.

            Actually, Safari would be a logical app to bring to Windows 10 via the Store. Would allow syncing with iOS devices and that is what MS is pushing the most on the mobile side. There's some potential synergy with Apple there.

          • VancouverNinja

            In reply to John Scott:

            No one cares about Chromebooks. Period. It was a great option for k-12 but now with Windows 10 S its an oddball solution. As far as a need to use the chrome one cares in k-12 Edge will do much better with its inking capabilities and faster performance. Google missed their opportunity.

      • PeteB

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Why wouldn't Google be fine building chrome for iOS?

        Sounds like some bitterness.

    • Roger Ramjet

      In reply to MikeCerm:

      Microsoft will never drop the requirement that browsers use their engine. Chrome on iOS uses Safari, so there is nothing new in that.

      All companies act in their own interest, and Apple must have calculated (correctly, imo) that the benefits outweigh the costs of going into the store with iTunes. Ok, if Google has a different calculation at this point. Up to Microsoft to prove to them (and other developers) that they ought to reconsider.

      It is possible that a later rather than earlier reconsideration leaves a developer chasing the trend. It happens, even to the mightiest. Look at Microsoft.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to MikeCerm: Don't know where that 80% of iTunes...comes from. I would think the vast majority of iTunes users use it on iOS. Had you said 80% of Windows users have iTunes installed, I might have bought that. Even I do for those rare occasions I want to connect an iPhone to my PC. Thing is they already have it installed, and nothing but 'S' is stopping them. Same for Chrome. Until MS says nothing installs on Windows (any version) that didn't come from the store, there is no compelling reason for either company to put their wares in the store. Wonderfulness of Store apps not withstanding, not needed.

      • lvthunder

        In reply to SvenJ:

        People use iTunes for more than just connecting an iPhone. I use it everyday at work. Why waste the battery on my phone when I'm within headphone cord distance using a computer 40 hours a week?

        • SvenJ

          In reply to lvthunder: Don't dispute that. That's just why it is on mine. Just unconvinced that 80% of iTunes use is on a PC. Seems that there are somewhere around 750M iOS devices in use* and all of them supposedly would be using iTunes. If that covers the other 20%, that would mean there would need to be in the neighborhood of 3.75B PCs using iTunes. I think that is stretching it. I think that is more than there are PCs, and every one of them would have to be using iTunes.


    • Asgard

      In reply to MikeCerm:

      "Likewise, it's down to Microsoft to drop the dumb requirement that Store apps use Edge's rendering engine so Google, Firefox, and Opera can get ported to the Store, and they might actually have a usable system."

      Yeah its dumb but I don't see any reason for them to do so. FF and Opera are quite meaningless based on their market share, and the only reason Google would "want" to put Chrome in the Store is because they can't.

    • mariusmuntensky

      In reply to MikeCerm:

      Your completely delusional! Users already use those apps as win32. There is nothing to gain for Apple and Google to have their apps in the Store as windows 10 S is not popular and will never be because no sane user would stay locked to an OS with a ghost town app store while he/she can update to a full windows pro for free or for a very small fee....pfff fanboys

  29. Dan1986ist

    That completely came out of left field. Was any of us even expecting this to actually come about?

  30. johnbaxter

    Windows 10 S appears to have led to a Cupertino Decision.

  31. IanYates82

    If nothing else it brings some more credibility to the platform. Good on both companies for doing something user positive. Still can't see google doing anything though and still vividly remember the YouTube debacle on phone from a few years ago (that short lived app was fantastic)

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to IanYates82:

      If google persists in trying to beat MS by staying off Windows, it will back fire on them. I could care less about google apps myself but it is not helping them as MS continues to gain momentum.

  32. MutualCore

    Hell is freezing and pigs are frying!

  33. glenn8878

    Good development. I hope its more than a port. Nevertheless, it should be better than the quasi-mobile style apps in the store that are largely useless. We can hope.

  34. evancox10

    The big question here is will Apple be ceding 30% of iTunes revenue to Microsoft? Or did Microsoft offer Apple a special deal to entice them to the platform?

  35. Tony Barrett

    Wow. That's great. One of the most abhorrent, hideous bits of software ever committed to a compiler makes the transition to UWP! Something for MS to be proud of.

  36. skane2600

    I haven't used iTunes in years. Do a lot of Windows users use it these days? Seems there are a lot of alternatives. Given the iTunes is free, MS's cut is 0$. Not very relevant for devs who want to make money on an app.

    • NazmusLabs

      In reply to skane2600:

      iTunes now has a MUCH cleaner UI in Windows. With the store version, you should definitely have a look. I think you'll like it. :)

    • John Scott

      In reply to skane2600: Many who use iTunes no doubt have a iPhone, Mac or iPad or still maybe they use a iPod? A few probably still backup their device on a PC through iTunes but most use iCloud now. Chrome would certainly be something more important to run than iTunes.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to skane2600:

      Chrome and iTunes are the top two most used apps on Windows. Chrome is replaceable if you have browsers and a browser that can replace the functionality. iTunes is not replaceable. A lot of people have legacy iTunes music and have video in iTunes.

      Actually iTunes shows that you can create an app with a separate store. It could pave the way for an app for Steam or GOG for gaming where you can buy and install sandboxed games through a third party app.

  37. will

    My guess is Apple is going to revamp iTunes (again) and this new version will be what shows up. iTunes installs so much "stuff" as part of its install, just getting the basic program will be a welcome addition!

  38. Vuppe

    Then why do we need Microsoft Movies & TV?

  39. Tim

    Will the Windows Store app run as poorly as the desktop app?


  40. jgraebner

    While I'm surprised by the announcement, Office (particularly the Mac version) does give Microsoft a bit of leverage with Apple.

  41. Nonmoi

    Apple brings iTunes to Windows, again.

  42. derekaw

    This is more about Apple Music than iTunes.

  43. pdagnall

    Tim Cook: "Wait, what?"

  44. Yannick Lefebvre

    Does that mean that iTunes will be able to play music on a Surface when the screen is turned off like other UWP music player apps?