Google seems set to stick it to iTunes in an attempt to carve out its own slice of the music market, hoping that by linking music sales up with its dominant search engine it will be able to achieve a content ecosystem designed to support sales of devices powered by its browser-based Android-one-day-Chrome OS.
The company is thought to be closing in on launching a music download service, offering tracks for sale and download. This will be followed by the introduction of a subscription-based music service next year (2011), at least, that is what the Wall Street Journal claims.
Negotiations aren’t yet complete — Google’s plans are allegedly vague and no deals have been reached at this time, indicating any launch of music services is some way away.
These are significant moves on behalf of the company to pose competition against Apple’s iTunes empire, though whether music industry executives will be willing to cede yet more control over their business to Silicon Valley firms remains open to question.
Some believe music industry execs will be happy to reach a deal as they attempt to bring Apple to heel. Apple accounted for 28% of all music purchased by U.S. consumers in the first quarter, according to NPD Group.
In other anti-iTunes moves, Google is also moving to add professional content on its YouTube video site, and is planning to roll out a digital bookstore this year.
Apple meanwhile has been expected to introduce some form of hybrid music subscription/music locker services for some time, with the most likely launch point now most likely in the August/September time frame, when the company traditionally launches new iPod family products.
This season’s announcements will likely include a new version of the iPod touch, equipped with a video camera and an A4 processor, as used in the iPhone and iPad.
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