Microsoft will extend Xbox Live to iOS and Android devices.
With over 40 million members, Microsoft knows that not all of them own a Windows Phone. In a surprising statement to Forbes, a Microsoft spokesman states that Xbox Live will be headed to non-Microsoft devices. Namely rival devices running iOS and Android.
According to a Microsoft rep, via Forbes:
"While the Xbox Live experiences and games always work best on the Windows platform, we understand that some Xbox fans may be using other types of devices. To satisfy that need, we are working to extend a few of our Xbox experiences and titles to other platforms."
Xbox Live on iOS and Android comes hot off news that Microsoft will end its Microsoft Points currency by the end of the year. Perhaps this switching to using dollars instead of points for in-app/game purchasing will make porting features to iOS and Android more appealing (and get approval).
From a business perspective, Microsoft expanding Xbox Live to non-Windows and Xbox hardware makes lots of sense. There's clearly a huge market for gaming thanks to the App Store and Android Market, and with non-gaming pushes like watching video and listening to music making big strides on Xbox Live, Microsoft's eyes should be lighting up with potential dollar signs.
Besides, it was inevitable that Xbox Live would go multi-platform (at least in some limited capacity), as Microsoft launched its first iPhone/iPad game Kinectimals at the end of last year and extended its My Xbox Live app to iOS as well.
I think the addition of Xbox Live to non-Windows smartphones and tablets is going to be a boon for developers and end-users. Maybe Xbox Live is the "super OS" Microsoft will use to tie all of its devices. Knowing that Xbox Live will be fully integrated into Windows 8, too, I would't be surprised if that turned out to be true.