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Pandora Goes Ad-free For Windows Phone 8

Windows-phone-8-313x234By Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.

What do you do if you have a lot of money from owning the entire desktop computer market for decades, but people don’t buy as many if your phones as you wish they would? You use some of that money to make your phone more attractive to consumers.

That’s the angle apparently being taken by Microsoft, which is fronting a year of ad-free Pandora for every Windows Phone 8 customer, according to my former colleague Matt Rosoff, the editorial director of CITEworld, who said this in a tweet just now.

His source: none other than Microsoft Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore (via Wired.com), who just said during Microsoft’s big Windows Phone 8 unveiling in San Francisco that Pandora would be available ad-free, for one year, to all Windows 8 owners starting in “early 2013.”

Pandora charges $3 per month for ad-free Pandora, or $36 per year. It’s not clear what Microsoft is paying Pandora to make this happen, but it could be as much as $36 for each Windows Phone 8 that it sells, if Microsoft is “paying retail,” as it were.

The strategy makes sense. Cash, it has. A popular mobile app platform? Not so much… but apparently it’s willing to spend significant amounts of money to make Windows Phone 8 a hit with consumers — even if it means adding some free competition for its own recently-revealed unlimited, on-demand and streaming radio service, Xbox Music, which also ships with Windows Phone 8.