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Was Lala Google’s Foray Into the Music Business?

by Travis Harvey | December 11, 2009December 11, 2009 10:16 am PDT

About one week ago, The New York Times broke the story that Apple had indeed acquired Lala.  It turns out that Apple paid upwards of $85 million in the deal.  Even more interesting, Google was also in serious talks with the same company.  Did Apple rush to close the deal just to prevent Google from doing the same?

For several days after the news broke, nearly every news outlet began speculating on what bearing Lala’s technology would have on the iTunes Music Store.  Some predict that Apple plans to offer a subscription streaming service alongside their current model.  Others thought that Apple wanted to allow users to access the web from any device, anywhere in the world.  While anything is possible, it turns out that Apple wasn’t necessarily after Lala’s technology, but instead was a move to prevent Google from entering into the music distribution market.

In the past, we’ve heard rumors about Google Music and Google’s intent to enter the same market as iTunes.  As it stands, iTunes is the #1 music distribution channel in the world.  Vendors like Amazon and Rhapsody have all tried to googletakesoverworldrival Apple’s iTunes Store, but neither has reached and probably never will reach that goal.  Google’s could have been a different story.

Just recently, Google has been indexing streaming music through their search engine, leaving behind companies without streaming capabilities.  Hundreds of millions of Google searches are done everyday.  How many of these searches are for music?  In a recent interview, Marissa Mayer stated that the second most search topic on Google is music lyrics.  Imagine the grasp that Google could extend by essentially advertising their product in every single one of those searches.

Google’s reach is growing by the day.  When Google moves into your line of business, you better watch your back.  Do you think Google will ever get into the media distribution market?  Do you think they can take down iTunes?  Let us know what you think.


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