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Microsoft confirms Xbox game pass pilot in Colombia and Ireland, Amazon and Google slam cloud changes

Yahoo Finance tech editor Dan Howley joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the latest news from Microsoft.

Video Transcript


BRIAN CHEUNG: Sharing the love. Microsoft has revealed plans for Xbox Game Pass Friends and Family. That's a subscription service that can be shared with your nearest and dearest. Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley here on set with the details. Dan, how does this work?

DAN HOWLEY: So this is a plan for five people to be able to share Xbox Game Pass. I've got to be honest with you. Microsoft just crushing it with the Game Pass. They have everything going for them and nothing really going against them. Game Pass right now, you can do cloud gaming. They offer free games that you can get. "Free," but you've got to sign up for the whole thing. So "free."

But you're able to now, with this plan, share it with friends and family. It is a pilot. So right now, it's only available in, I believe, Columbia and Ireland. And then so what they're doing is they're making it so that I could sign up, and then I can share it with you guys. We don't even have to live in the same house. There's none of that weird Spotify, Netflix, you guys sure you live at the same address, kind of thing.

They want you to share it with everyone, the idea being, obviously, that the more people that use it, the more people will say, well, now I want to sign up. And they'll probably raise the price down the road or something along those lines. But it's really about getting people into this idea of Game Pass.

Sony has something similar, not a sharing plan but a Game Pass-style plan. That is doing relatively well for them. It's interesting the way they're doing it. They're not releasing brand new games on it. Microsoft's like, the hell with it. We'll put any new thing that we can on it. The new "Call of Duty" that's going to be coming out, that's going on Game Pass the first day it's released.

So again, they are just straight up killing it with this. If this becomes a real deal for everyone around the world, I think it'll make Game Pass even more popular.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Dan, quickly, pricing on this, 49,000 Colombian pesos.

DAN HOWLEY: Yes, so--

BRIAN CHEUNG: I don't know what that--

DAN HOWLEY: The exchange rate? It's 21.99 euros.


DAN HOWLEY: Yes, in Ireland. So we'll see what it comes out to if it comes out in the US. But again, I mean, they are just dominating the space. And as far as cloud gaming goes, yes, it's still nascent. Yes, we still need the connectivity to be improved. But look, if I could play "Call of Duty," if I can get some "Warzone" action while I'm sitting at my desk just on a Chromebook and my buddy's got like a $4,000 PC, and I'm seeing the same thing that he's seeing, I don't care. I'll sign up for it. Hell yeah.

AKIKO FUJITA: Surprised you don't make a strong dollar comment.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Well, I was going to say, the euro parity means it's about $22 a month as well. There you go. Check that box.

AKIKO FUJITA: One more question here, staying with Microsoft. We had a lot of changes that were announced specifically in the cloud space. What more can you tell us?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, so essentially there were complaints that they were involved in some potential antitrust activity in Europe. We had some smaller European cloud providers coming out, saying that Microsoft is being unfair, anti-competitive.

So Microsoft is making some changes to its policy in the EU specifically. And President Brad Smith had come out and said, look, we had gone through antitrust rigmarole in the EU in 2007. We don't want to go back to that. So we're going to try to be proactive about this as these smaller cloud companies bring up their complaints.

Now, they're getting pushback though because in the changes that they're making, they specifically exclude the likes of Google and Amazon, their two largest competitors in the cloud space. So Amazon and Google basically coming out and saying that Microsoft is engaging in anti-competitive practices, which is really just a wild thing to come out of Amazon's mouth when you look at the different accusations against them.

And oh, yeah, Google is being sued for antitrust issues in the US. So you've got to kind of--

BRIAN CHEUNG: Pot calling the kettle black?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah. I mean, great assault, pot calling the kettle black. I mean, it is, though, interesting to see that Microsoft is being more proactive in this, just to ensure that they don't end up on the wrong side of the whole big tech crackdown. But they're one of the biggest companies in the world still. And there's going to be something coming probably.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, kind of chasing each other around right now--

DAN HOWLEY: Oh, yeah.

AKIKO FUJITA: --those tech names.


AKIKO FUJITA: All right, Dan Howley, thanks so much for that.