In a surprise announcement, LINE messenger has picked up MixRadio from Microsoft. LINE is one of the biggest messaging services around, although it is mostly prevalent in non-Western countries at the moment.
Microsoft announced the news on the Lumia Conversations blog. The deal is expected to be completed by "early 2015" with the MixRadio team staying in Bristol, UK.
Perhaps that is the big news here that LINE plans to continue offering MixRadio, building off of the music streaming service and recommendation engine. Jyrki Rosenberg, Head of MixRadio, comments:
"We wanted MixRadio to continue to operate with a commitment to constant innovation and aspiration to deliver the best possible mobile-first experience to listeners. LINE share this vision and our passion for simple, personal and fun user experiences in every way".
Although it was well known that Microsoft had decided to spin-off MixRadio after the acquisition of the Nokia mobile division, there had been no rumors of potential suitors. LINE is certainly not one of the companies anyone would have predicted to pick up a music streaming service, but LINE is one of the more innovative companies today.
Finally, for Lumia owners, things are still looking good for MixRadio, as the blog notes "In terms of the MixRadio app and service itself, MixRadio fans can expect the same level of commitment to bring a personalised music experience to Lumia smartphones…". Such affirmation of Microsoft's commitment was iterated earlier when the spin-off plans were announced.
Hopefully, we will hear more of LINE's plans in early 2015.