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Is iTunes going to be made obsolete by Google Music, the upcoming cloud-based service from the internet superpower?
iTunes may have met its match

Billboard magazine, one of the oldest and deepest entrenched music magazines, is citing multiple sources as having revealed secret details of Google's upcoming music service.

The new Google Music comes at a price -- $25 a year to be precise -- but it makes Apple's iTunes (in its current implementation) look like a dinosaur.  First the basics; the service will offer direct digital downloads much like Apple.

An album download will reportedly generally cost $7.  Most tracks will cost 70 cents, "superstar tracks" will cost 91 cents, and "catalog tracks" will cost 49 cents.

Your $25 subscription fee comes with a free online music "locker" -- a secure storage site in the cloud – in which you will be able to place your purchases.  From there they can stream your music to any compatible internet connected computer or device.  

The size of the locker was not revealed to the sources.

If that feature is not enough to make Apple blush, this will as well -- Google will be offering a one-time 
full preview, reportedly of every track in its library, similar to what Lala.com did before Apple acquired it, killing the full-length previews.  Full previews certainly outdo iTunes 20 second previews of 4 minute tracks.

The app for the service would reportedly be entirely web-based, so you don't have to worry about installing pesky applications on your machines.  Additionally Google is reportedly planning on including a mild social network/song sharing service, similar to Apple's new Ping network, with Google Music.

And the biggest upside of all for Google is that the company obviously has vastly more ability to redirect internet traffic to its service than Apple.  While Apple can boast reaching hundreds of millions of users with its iDevices, Google can literally boast reach over a 
billion users worldwide.

The biggest trouble spot for Google, according to the report, is shaping up to be reticence from music labels.  Some industry officials called the proposal "a good start", but others promised that it would see resistance particularly on the issue of track costs and previews.

According to the sources Google's proposal calls for a "50-50" revenue split between master rights holders and Google, with music publishers receiving a 10.5% share.  It's unclear if that 10.5 percent is deducted before the split, or if it will come out of one of the two parties' shares.

The sources say Google is seeking to lock labels into a 3-year contract from the launch of the service in terms of pricing and features agreements.

Users would also be able to use their web app to scan their hard drives and upload files to their music locker -- including music from other services (iTunes, Rhapsody, etc.), songs ripped from CDs (which the RIAA contends is "stealing"), and even songs obtained from P2P networks.  The latter is a thorny issue in the negotiations for labels, but they reportedly realize that it may be inevitable and are pushing Google to, in return, tighten restrictions on its search results to filter out P2P software and torrent sites.

It remains to be seen how music labels ultimately react to the proposal, but planned service certainly sounds like a good deal for customers.  And with music labels already fed up with Apple, they may begrudgingly embrace Google's terms as the lesser of two evils (in their eyes).  Armed with superior technology and brand reach, it might finally put an end to the era of iTunes reigning supreme in the world of digital music sales.



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Google reminds me of.......
By Tony Swash on 9/16/2010 6:06:33 PM , Rating: 3
Google is beginning to remind me of....... what's that company called.........the one that tried to take everyone else's business, the one that wanted to dominant every tech business sector, the one that used its giant cash-flow from its core monopoly to undermine everyone' else's business by undercutting them, the one that used its monopoly power to intimidate the OEM's to exclude its competitors.... what was it called? It's name started with Micro - something?

This is from eWeek

quote:
Motorola, which makes and sells smartphones based on Google's Android operating system, agreed to use Skyhook's XPS location technology in April.

When Google Vice President of Engineering Andy Rubin learned of this he called Motorola Co-CEO Sanjay Jha to impose a "stop ship" order, preventing Motorola from shipping Android wireless devices featuring Skyhook's XPS software.

Rubin claimed that using XPS in Android phones would make them incompatible. Motorola ended up shipping its Motorola Droid X smartphone in mid-July using Google's location software instead of the Skyhook XPS technology.


Full article here

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Skyho...




RE: Google reminds me of.......
By acer905 on 9/16/2010 6:11:02 PM , Rating: 2
Which is why it, like that other company, will leave the "fruity competition" in the metaphorical marketshare dust. (and to stop you from complaining, in regards to their prime market)


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Tony Swash on 9/16/2010 6:16:46 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft had it easy, Apple was run by bozos and the prime mover, the main driver, in the evolution of the Wintel monopoly was the enterprise and corporate market and MS sewed that baby up really tight really early on.

This time its different, this time Apple is firing on all cylinders and the prime driver is the consumer. This time its going to be much more interesting.

Remember - Google only has one product that makes money - that's a very vulnerable place to be - hence their panic about being possibly shut out of the emerging mobile markets.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By acer905 on 9/16/2010 7:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Google only has one product that makes money


Really? last time i checked, while offering most services for free, they also have enhanced versions, offered at a small cost. You can upgrade your gmail for more storage, you can get Google Earth Pro, there is the SketchUp Pro 3D modelling software... Which of these was the one product you were referring to? Or was it something else like their search engine core? (which, by being linked to all their things, allows their free things to bring in money by increasing their range)

Are you really going to say that a multi-billion dollar corporation, whose primary products go to the consumers for no charge, is in any way vulnerable? Even if their other products don't come close to the status of Google searches, what is there that could actually hurt Google in the search field? Last i checked there are two search sites whose names are words, and only one of them was a word before the site existed.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Ranari on 9/16/2010 11:07:00 PM , Rating: 3
Google makes most of their money from one thing, and that's pay-per-click advertising. They may charge a small fee for some pretty brilliant software, but by and large, it's pay-per-click advertising that fuels Google's massive coffers.

Now, I'm going to address your post from two directions, and that revolves around Google being vulnerable.

1) I know you're a smart man, and I know you'll agree with me that the internet in the United States, whether we like it or not, is moving towards the mobile market. Android is an extremely popular mobile operating system, and you'll find Google Search on every single one of them. Why do you think Microsoft keeps wanting to enter into the market with Windows 7 Mobile?

2) History has taught us that even titans fall when they don't evolve and differentiate. Markets change, and so does the consumer. Look at AT&T; they used to have a monopolistic hold on the telephone market, and now look at them. They sold the same overpriced crap for 30 years, and it came back and bit them in the ass.

Google knows that if it doesn't differentiate its market presence, it's going to stagnate. Plus, Google answers to investors, not people like you or I. It's very difficult when you have a near-monopoly on the search market to keep growing, making more profit. Plus, Google doesn't have a monopoly on the search market. In fact, it's being quite threatened by Microsoft.

So what does Google do? Well, it all makes sense if you simply sit down and think about it. The mobile market is an ever growing, profitable market, and while Google provides a very strong Android OS product, it still needs to introduce new products to differentiate itself. If Google *doesn't* keep growing in the mobile market, then it'll effectively lose search marketshare, which is its core driving business (ie, advertising).

And there you have it; introducing Google music.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Tony Swash on 9/17/2010 2:44:11 AM , Rating: 4
It is interesting to note that the replies to my first comment about Google acting like Microsoft has brought little comment. Mostly people want to respond to a far less significant and subsidiary comment about Google's market vulnerability.

Google is, for some reason, the darling around here. It gives some stuff away free and is attacking the iPhone and Apple and I suppose that endears them to a lot of people. I think, given the principles that most of you profess to have, that your affections are misplaced.

Skyhook Wireless, in their “complaint and jury demand” filed a document yesterday which covers Google’s control over which devices have access to the Android MarketGoogle and you can get the entire pdf here

http://daringfireball.net//misc/2010/09/Skyhook-Go...

download and read it. Then perhaps you people who claim that Google is a champion of openness can explain again how that works.

Here is an extract from the pdf

quote:
22. Google’s established practice in determining Android compliance consists of two steps. The first step requires each Android-enabled device, and its embedded software, to be run against the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS), a software-based test platform that objectively evaluates whether the device and software are compatible with the published Android specifications. The second step involves a review of the device and software based on an amorphous outline of additional, non-standardized requirements known as the Compliance Definition Document (CDD). This entirely subjective review, conducted solely by Google employees with ultimate authority to interpret the scope and meaning of the CDD as they see fit, effectively gives Google the ability to arbitrarily deem any software, feature or function “non-compatible” with the CDD.

23. On information and belief, Google has notified OEMs that they will need to use Google Location Service, either as a condition of the Android OS-OEM contract or as a condition of the Google Apps contract between Google and each OEM. Though Google claims the Android OS is open source, by requiring OEMs to use Google Location Service, an application that is inextricably bundled with the OS level framework, Google is effectively creating a closed system with respect to location positioning. Google’s manipulation suggests that the true purpose of Android is, or has become, to ensure that “no industry player can restrict or control the innovations of any other”, unless it is Google.


This article at Business Insider is worth a look

http://www.businessinsider.com/google-is-now-offic...

Here is a quote from that article:
quote:
All's fair in business, we suppose. But Google is now basically acting like heyday-era Microsoft here, throwing its weight around and screwing over small companies for its own gain. Google Android boss Andy Rubin went as far as to call Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha "multiple times" to impose a "stop ship" order on the company's phones, according to Skyhook's complaint.

Also, most companies don't have mantras like "don't be evil." And now, neither can Google -- not with a straight face, at least.

This move sounds especially evil because Android is supposed to be an "open" mobile platform for handset makers, with an open ecosystem -- one that theoretically lets handset makers and application developers control their own destinies. But it turns out "open" is only "open" in Google's world if it furthers Google's aims.


You are being conned, don't lose sight of your principles.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Tony Swash on 9/17/2010 2:53:41 AM , Rating: 2
Here is another extract from the complaint against Google. Straight out of Microsoft's old playbook. I suppose this too will be defended as championing openness.

quote:
In 2005, Google expressed an interest in Licensing Skyhook's XPS technology. In 2007, after the expiration of an evaluation license between the parties, Google asked Skyhook to provide Goggle with data from Skyhook's confidential and proprietary database of known Wi-Fi access points. Growing sceptical of Google's motives, Skyhook declined to provide this highly confidential information to Google. Ultimately, Google elected not to license Skyhook's technology for commercial use. Instead shortly thereafter Google began offering Google Location Services in competition with XPS positioning system.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By hanishkvc on 9/17/10, Rating: 0
RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Tony Swash on 9/17/2010 8:40:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now in a absolute sense, there is a small issue, in that Google could have been magnanimous here, but come on, at the end they are a for profit company and we have to give them atleast that much freedom to try and make some money or recognisation or ... for something they are providing for free along with others in the Android community.


So its OK for Google to use their power to pressure companies who are deploying Android into excluding competitors products/services through an explicit threat to isolate them in the Android community and shut them off from other Google services?

So this "free" thing comes with strings attached.

It seems an odd sort of "open" to me.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By NaughtyGeek on 9/17/2010 11:30:04 AM , Rating: 2
No, no strings attached. You're free to use the core OS to your liking without encumbrance from Google. However, if you want added functionality from Google, there is a price to pay. There's the difference between the free (base) version and the version Google is licensing to OEMs. OEMs are free to cook their own ROM but said ROM may not have access to Google premium services/content.


By JKflipflop98 on 9/18/2010 10:32:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but I don't buy the whole "x company won't buy MY software so therefore they're evil" ideal. It's competition in the marketplace. If you can't deliver the item your customer wants, then you deserve to be shut out - not go to court and sue because you got picked last for the dodgeball game.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By OUits on 9/17/2010 10:10:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I know you're a smart man, and I know you'll agree with me that the internet in the United States, whether we like it or not, is moving towards the mobile market.

No, "the Internet" isn't going anywhere. National broadband plan, hello? Mobile is just another growing market through which you can access the Internet... and it is FAR from the best/most popular option right now.
quote:
2)Look at AT&T; they used to have a monopolistic hold on the telephone market, and now look at them. They sold the same overpriced crap for 30 years, and it came back and bit them in the ass.

The government broke up AT&T, not the market.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Reclaimer77 on 9/18/2010 2:04:29 PM , Rating: 2
I really wouldn't waste my time. Tony has proven time and time again that he's a hopeless Apple fan.

Look at his OP. It's obvious he feels threatened by Google Music, and like every Apple zombie hates MS, so he tries to make some bizarre Google sucks because they are trying to be like MS and MS sucks analogy.

Tony let me clue you in. Microsoft is THE industry software giant on the planet. Their profits are legendary, their market saturation uncontested. ANY company would sell their souls to be in their position. And they didn't get this way by "trying to take over the world.". They got there by offering the most compatible wide-spread PC solutions the globe had ever seen, the world came to MS. Not the other way around.

Regardless of what platform you are using, your user experience has been made better because of Microsoft. I think somewhere deep down, you know this. And it's obviously driving you nuts.

As far as Google music, it's about time someone offered a better alternative to that iTunes ripoff with it's second rate software and draconian per-download scheme.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By MrBlastman on 9/17/2010 9:40:53 AM , Rating: 3
If I have to pick between evils, I'll pick Google. I'd rather see Apple fall first before Google, as Steve Jobs is more despicable than even then.

Sorry, that's just how I see it. At least Google doesn't write applications so they destroy your ability to use your CD Burner, unlike i-virus-tunes.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Tony Swash on 9/17/2010 9:56:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If I have to pick between evils, I'll pick Google. I'd rather see Apple fall first before Google, as Steve Jobs is more despicable than even then.

Sorry, that's just how I see it. At least Google doesn't write applications so they destroy your ability to use your CD Burner, unlike i-virus-tunes


I have no idea what you are talking about about iTunes destroying your CD burner.

The main things is that this is not a debate about Apple and bringing up Apple is just a way to try to avoid discussing the ethics and behaviour of Google.

Come on guys - Google is presented as the second coming around here, champion of openness and light. So what do think about their behaviour here - am I the only one that finds this sort of stuff reminiscent of Microsoft at its worst back before they were reined in through anti-trust legal action?

Here is what Google vice-president for engineering Vic Gundotra said on-stage at the I/O developer conference in May:

quote:
If you believe in openness, if you believe in choice, if you believe in innovation from everyone, then welcome to Android.


Does Google's actual behaviour in this matter square with that?

Apparently Google wants innovation except when it competes with them.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By mcnabney on 9/17/2010 11:49:35 AM , Rating: 2
The Android platform only has a few required items from Google. That was one of them. Surprisingly, Search provider is not one of them which explains the Samsung Fascinate that use Bing for some odd reason. Motorola was trying to make some money going to Skyhook, but forgot to read their licensing agreements.

Also, the CD burner issue is fairly common. My wife accidentally let iTunes get installed with a Quicktime update. I didn't even notice it was on there until I found out that I couldn't burn audio disks anymore. Had to do a restore to get rid of iTunes. Solved the problem. I think it is a copy-protection bug that doesn't play nice with many burners.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Tony Swash on 9/17/2010 12:30:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Android platform only has a few required items from Google. That was one of them. Surprisingly, Search provider is not one of them which explains the Samsung Fascinate that use Bing for some odd reason. Motorola was trying to make some money going to Skyhook, but forgot to read their licensing agreements.


So basically you think Google's actions are OK? What do other people think?

quote:
Also, the CD burner issue is fairly common. My wife accidentally let iTunes get installed with a Quicktime update. I didn't even notice it was on there until I found out that I couldn't burn audio disks anymore. Had to do a restore to get rid of iTunes. Solved the problem. I think it is a copy-protection bug that doesn't play nice with many burners.


Raising this issue in response to my comments about behaviour by Google is probably just an attempt to shift the debate from Google to Apple - I guess some people feel more comfortable moaning about Apple rather than discussing what Google is actually up to.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By NoSpinHere on 9/22/2010 11:48:00 AM , Rating: 2
You say Apple’s (and yes Tony, Apple is synonymous with Itunes) prime driver is the consumer – you are right; however, brand loyalty is key here, and this is where Apple is extremely vulnerable. I have been an Itunes customer since inception of the IPod Mini (say 8 years ago?) but have no loyalty to Apple or its Itunes music service. Apple’s motto must be "Money first and to hell with customer service". If you import any non-Itunes song, the track skips (by Itunes' design of course), forcing you to ditch the song and buy it from Itunes. Even a simple task like changing a battery in an IPod is not allowed, forcing customers to buy yet another IPod. Some Itunes updates wipe out your playlists; for me, these were developed over years and I can’t tell you the anger I felt. “Back up your playlists” you say? Itunes backup feature forces you to use disks instead of an external hard drive or the likes (this takes hours when your talking about 2,000 songs. Apple employs “Force-buy” tactics with its customers and has enjoyed success because it has been the only game in town for years. During this time, Apple has shown its blatant and unwavering arrogance. I hope to be Google's first customer when its music service hits the market, and will gladly trash my IPod and delete Itunes from my hard drive. I recently experienced one of Google's great products and customer service when using one of its Android smart phones: Six months ago I switched from an IPhone to a T-Mobile Android driven smart phone - I absolutely love it. On top of its superior Android OS (relative to Apple's IOS), Google's customer service is stellar. I even get quarterly newsletter discussing new apps and other critical news. Google via TMobile advertises "We don't forget about you" and they proved it with me firsthand. When a new version of Android’s OS was unveiled, Google made available an update for all existing Android phone users and did not force us to buy a new phone; my smart phone is now even faster than before. Now that's customer service! Conversely with the IPhone, if you want to take advantage of new technology or upgrades to the IOS, you are forced to buy a new phone (recall the Itunes motto). Bring it on with the music service Google! You have millions of Itunes customers waiting on the sidelines to make the switch (just like they are doing now switching from the IPhone IOS to your Android OS). I’ll pay $25 a year essentially for customer service, and make up for it with lower priced music tracks. It’s a no-brainer conversion from Itunes.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Enoch2001 on 9/22/2010 5:48:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you import any non-Itunes song, the track skips (by Itunes' design of course), forcing you to ditch the song and buy it from Itunes.


Sorry, what? Import any non-Tunes song? I buy most of my music from Amazon (cheaper than iTunes usually) and these tracks import fine into iTunes (which I use to manage my music for iPod/iPhone playback). And your opinion of Android being superior to iOS4 is purely an opinion, as I find Android a bloated and cluttered cluster phuk of an OS. That said, at least with Froyo it no longer feels like a beta test...


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Pirks on 9/17/2010 12:45:17 PM , Rating: 2
So you want to see Google as a company that gives away stuff for free and welcomes everyone to build on top of this free stuff that they gave away WITH NO STRINGS attached to became their competitors? Do you see many companies giving away stuff to their potential competitors for free and with NO STRINGS ATTACHED? Please give us some examples of such REAL "do no evil" companies, Tony, if you don't want to look naive and childish here.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By MrBlastman on 9/17/2010 1:16:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The main things is that this is not a debate about Apple and bringing up Apple is just a way to try to avoid discussing the ethics and behaviour of Google.


I don't think you get it, Tony. Nothing you can say will make me like Apple. Nothing. They're evil plain and simple.

Google is evil, too.

Which is why I said choosing between the lesser of two evils. If Google would change their policy on storing information on all of us, I might change my perspective on them, until then, I still use their tools as honestly, a few of them have changed the way we use the internet.

The reason we drag Apple into this is... dun dun dun... The article is about Google crushing the i-tunes store! (at least, they're dreaming about it). The article is about Apple too!

So, for now, I say--Go Google! They're pricing it lower than Apple, albeit a 25.00/year fee.

Apple needs to stop shoveling cripple-ware, less functional crap down our throats.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Enoch2001 on 9/22/2010 5:53:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Apple needs to stop shoveling cripple-ware, less functional crap down our throats.


Oh.. k.. I find this statement laughable, but whatever. I've had an iPod since release and an iPhone as well, but I hold no loyalty to Apple. I shop at Amazon for most of my music and will happily try Google's offering if it materializes. I think calling Apple's products (iTunes/iPod/iPhone) cripple-ware and less functional is a bit extreme. I mean... seriously?

I'm sure Apple will offer a comparable product to whatever Google comes up with. It's doubtful the purchase of Lala will go unused.

Competition is good, and I welcome it. It doesn't make me hate Apple, nor Google, nor whoever. Sheesh...


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By sprockkets on 9/17/2010 4:01:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
At least Google doesn't write applications so they destroy your ability to use your CD Burner, unlike i-virus-tunes.


This seems to have been a problem like 5 years ago. It isn't the case anymore.

If you had itunes open it took control of the cd burner, but simply rebooting the computer took care of the issue for my sister. No, I agree, it was very, very annoying.

Today, I haven't seen this issue, probably because people complained about it and seeing as how there are no restrictions to burning since the DRM is gone, its a moot point.

Your anecdotal evidence may vary :)


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Tony Swash on 9/17/2010 6:47:45 PM , Rating: 3
There is an interesting Engadget article about the Skyhook Google conflict.

It's here

http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/17/skyhook-google-...

Here is a short extract, its worth reading the whole thing.

quote:
Now, this is Skyhook's side of the story and we're sure Google will make a persuasive argument of its own, but let's just back up for a moment here and point out the obvious: Google's never, ever come out and clearly said what's required for devices to gain access to Android Market and the branded apps like Gmail -- even though we've been directly asking about those requirements since Android first launched. Remember when Andy Rubin told us that there would be full-fledged "Google Experience" phones with no carrier or handset manufacturer limitations? Or when we were told that phones with skins like HTC Sense or additional features like Exchange integration wouldn't have Google branding? And then all of that turned out to be a lie? Yes, Android might be "open" in the sense that the source code is available, but there's no doubt Google's wielded incredible power over the platform by restricting access to Market and its own apps -- power that hasn't been used to prevent carrier-mandated bloatware or poorly-done manufacturer skinning, but has instead apparently been used to block legitimate competitors like Skyhook from doing business.


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Reclaimer77 on 9/18/2010 2:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This seems to have been a problem like 5 years ago.


No it wasn't a problem! They were just "burning it wrong", right Jobs?


RE: Google reminds me of.......
By sprockkets on 9/19/2010 9:26:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No it wasn't a problem! They were just "burning it wrong", right Jobs?


This is getting really, really old, and it doesn't even work here.


"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard














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