Is Microsoft Making an Apple TV Rival?

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) just made its entry into the tablet market dominated by the iPad with its Surface, and now it has found another avenue to compete more directly with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). The Windows maker will reportedly launch a low-cost television set-top box next year that will connect with the company’s Xbox. The Apple TV rival will be intended at streaming media as well as for gaming, according to The Verge. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) also makes Android-based set-top box software that is used by several manufacturers.

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Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console is currently mainly a gaming-centric device, but the company recently rebranded its entertainment services to replace the name Zune with Xbox, presumably giving its offerings some unity. While Apple TV can also be used for those iOS games that support AirPlay functionality, it lacks a dedicated gaming controller and is mainly used to stream content from Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Hulu (NASDAQ:CMCSA), etc. on the television.

“Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend the console lifecycle by introducing controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships,” Microsoft said in a statement to the website. “We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention.”

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