Google Music to leverage Android's brand strength
Search giant should take on iTunes in fall with download and streaming services
Published: 16 June, 2010
Google is expected to take on Apple in yet another key area this fall, by launching Google Music in competition with iTunes. This fits in with one of the enhancements in the upcoming Android 2.2, or Froyo, an upgraded music feature geared to streaming content.
Many have tried and failed to dent iTunes' grip on digital music, but many believe Google has an advantage over Amazon and others - an integrated device/content story comparable to Apple's. Some Android handsets, such as the HTC Desire or Droid Incredible, are achieving brand awareness and desirability almost in the iPhone's class, and could be marketed as integrated music devices in future.
According to CNet, citing music industry insiders, Google will launch its music service, offering both streaming and download options, this fall. This will be heavily supported by US carriers, notably Verizon, that have no iPhone and have strong Android handsets - in another move that could make Apple regret its faithfulness to the now redundant AT&T exclusive.
In preparation for taking on the music market, Google has acquired companies like Simplify Media, which allows users to stream music to their mobile devices from a home library using a cloud music approach. As with Android Market, Google will not be brave enough to eschew downloads altogether, but its longer term aim will be to convert the market to the cloud/browser/streaming model. Even Apple is rumored to be developing an offering using this approach, based on its acquisition of streaming music specialist LaLa - this could launch around the same time as Google Music, preparing for the latest head-to-head just in time for the holiday season (and one that could be exploited heavily by the US cellcos in their pre-Christmas marketing campaigns).