Steam is the poster child for the digital content model, so its not shocking to see them exploring these options. Digital content delivery is only going to continue to grow.
It also is interesting to consider the wider market. MS is taking a beating over its policies, but its interesting to see how they seem to be leading the way to improve the current digital content model that Steam pioneered.
If we step back for a moment and look at just the digital sales side of the X1, we see a program that has advantages over Steam. In fact, the X1 will offer you more control over the content you buy then Steam, while still offering all the benefits of a digital purchase. The 24hr check is the only difference I see, so if MS can phase that out, they will have an all around robust and effective digital content platform that easily competes with Steam.
If MS is willing to fix its policies in relation to content bought on discs and a proper offline mode like Steam, then we can actually start looking at the features and not worrying about drm.
In a weird way, if MS is successful, especially on the digital content side, it could force Steam to evaluate options to give us more control over digital content as well to compete. So I hope MS fixes the issues that have taken the focus away from gaming and are successful because of it, leading to more competition in the digital space.