Google intent on launching music service to challenge iTunes

Posted on September 6, 2010

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Google is hoping to debut an Internet-based digital music service that would launch later this year in conjunction with version 3 of its popular Android operating system for smartphones, according to various media reports.

The news is notable considering the heated competition between Google and Apple on the mobile front; executives from each company have taken pot shots at the other in recent months, highlighting the rapid pace of innovation on the smartphone battlefield. In digital music, Apple has a leg up on Google thanks to its popular iTunes store, but Google in May showed off a service that would allow users to store and stream their music to their Android phones from a cloud-based Internet service.

Now, according to separate reports from Reuters and the Los Angeles Times citing unnamed sources familiar with the efforts, Google is deep into licensing negotiations for the service with record labels, with the hopes of launching a music service alongside Android 3.0 in time for the critical fourth quarter holiday shopping season. Google’s Andy Rubin–chief of the company’s Android business–is spearheading the talks, according to the reports.

Some record company executives see Google as a welcome alternative to a digital music scene dominated by Apple’s iTunes. “Finally here’s an entity with the reach, resources and wherewithal to take on iTunes as a formidable competitor by tying it into search and Android mobile platform,” said a record label executive quoted by Reuters who asked not to be identified. “What you’ll have is a very powerful player in the market that’s good for the music business.”

Of course, Apple is not standing still. The company this week introduced a social-networking service, dubbed Ping, for its iTunes platform. However, the company mentioned nothing about a streaming music service, which many have expected since Apple acquired LaLa in December.

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Posted in: Google