Microsoft has apps for streaming games to phones and using a virtual desktop on tablets. The company also has a vast library of other apps on iOS and Android. But there's one glaring hole in the company's mobile lineup: the Microsoft Movies & TV app. If you purchase movies or TV shows through the Microsoft Store, you can enjoy them on your Windows PC or Xbox console. But if you want to watch the content you've purchased on a mobile device, you're mostly out of luck.
I'm certainly not the first person to ask for Microsoft to bring Movies & TV to iOS and Android, but the app just seems past due. Microsoft invests heavily into its Android and iOS apps but has just left one consumer service off those platforms. Movies Anywhere works with Microsoft Movies & TV, but it has its limitations. For example, as a customer outside the United States, I can't use Movies Anywhere.
I bought the content, so let me watch it
I purchase content through the Microsoft Store, so I want to be able to watch it wherever and whenever I want. I have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ subscriptions, but when I want to watch a brand-new film or just want to have access to a piece of media forever, I purchase it through the Microsoft Store.
To be transparent, I don't actually spend money on most of my movies. I rack up Microsoft Rewards points and exchange them for gift cards. But Microsoft seems fine with that setup and lets me buy all sorts of things. I have a growing library of my favorite shows and films, and sometimes I want to watch them on my phone.
In a world in which I can stream games to a phone, it's just odd that I can't stream movies and TV shows to all of my devices.
Competitors are on iOS and Android, so why isn't Microsoft?
I first thought that there might be some sort of licensing limitation to having a Movies & TV app on iOS and Android. I don't think that's the case, however, since Vudu and other streaming services manage to have apps on mobile devices and other major platforms. I imagine that Microsoft might have to sort out some licensing agreements, but they have good lawyers. I'm sure they could get over any hurdles.
While the film and TV industries are different, Microsoft had Groove Music on mobile devices back when Groove Music Pass was a thing. That shows that Microsoft is capable of making content available across different platforms.
Movies Anywhere doesn't help people outside of the United States
For customers in the U.S., Microsoft Movies & TV is just one of many services that works with Movies Anywhere. People can buy content from Prime Video, Vudu, Google Play, and many other services and then watch them across devices. That's all fine and dandy if you're in the U.S., but I'm not. In what might be news to Microsoft, there are, in fact, billions of people who are not in the United States.
This wouldn't be the first time that Microsoft didn't prioritize customers outside the United States. Many complain about Microsoft's U.S.-centric approach. I hope that isn't the case here, but it's difficult to see it from another angle.
It's 2022. What's Microsoft waiting for? Just let me watch my content on all of my devices.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.