After months of anticipation, it looks as though Microsoft is finally joining Disney's "Movies Anywhere" service, according to a page on Microsoft's site (via WalkingCat on Twitter). With Microsoft jumping on the bandwagon, you should soon be able to watch most movies you've purchased through the Microsoft Store across a number of other major services as well, though the feature does not appear to be working just yet. This also means Microsoft's Movies & TV apps will now allow you to access movies you purchased from other supported services. However, the service is restricted to use in the U.S.
Updated August 6, 2018: Microsoft appears to have pulled its Movies Anywhere landing page for now, but you can go ahead and start linking up your Microsoft account via the service's mobile apps.
Movies Anywhere, which launched in late 2017, is a digital locker service that gives you access to your movie purchases across a variety of major services, including Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and now Microsoft. As long as you own a movie on one of those services, it will be available on all of the others, in addition to the dedicated Movies Anywhere website and apps for Android and iOS.
There is one major caveat to this portability, however. The service is reliant on agreements with major movie studios, which means movies from studios that haven't struck a deal aren't available across platforms. Currently, the list of studios that have signed on to Movies Anywhere includes Disney, Fox, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Universal. Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM are still holding out.
When it debuted, Movies Anywhere was seen as a big win for consumers because it knocked down the barriers surrounding the walled gardens of some platforms. As long as a given store supports the service, you don't have to worry about where you buy your movies, and that's a big deal if you're looking out for sales.
As for Microsoft, this solves a major pain point for anyone who wanted to use the company's store for movie purchases. Without a version of its Movies & TV app on other platforms, consumers were previously restricted to watching their purchases on Windows 10 devices and Xbox One.
As Windows Central Executive Editor Daniel Rubino opined not long after Movies Anywhere launched, Microsoft Movies & TV would be dead if it didn't embrace the service. Well, it appears it ain't dead yet.