There are many voices (including mine) that claim Apple does not see the iTunes music store as one of their core products but just as a support tool for another product: the owners of the iPod needed a simple and convenient way to purchase new music to add to their device. Ironically, the store that is just seen as a side business for its owner has become the largest music retailer in the world.
The market dominance of Apple makes many people argue it worries about every new competitor entering the market. Google Music has been hailed as the latest service that will be able to compete with iTunes and even though details have not been announced the music industry is already preparing for a big fight between the two technology giants.
In truth, the launch of a new music service, such as Google Music, probably has little influence on Apple’s real business, which is selling hardware devices.
More recently we have seen a priority shift within Apple’s ‘portable’ product range with the iPhone and iPad become hugely successful. What does that mean for Apples music business?
Quite clearly apps are economically more successful than recorded music and potentially also easier to ‘acquire’ for Apple without the need to negotiate with struggling and demanding major labels. With apps being to the iPhone/iPad what music is to the iPod, I assume Apple is not very concerned with any new music services launching even if they were to take market share within the music space from Apple. We also have to keep in mind that Steve Job and his team have always been less protective in the music space than we give them credit for: there are many music apps for iOS that could be seen as a competitor to Apple.
Of course there have been rumors for a while that Apple wants to launch a ‘cloud based’ music service. I see this less as an action based of the fear of losing market share against someone like Google but just as an upgrade to their existing service – with most Apple devices already being able to connect to the internet is just makes sense not to store music on the local hard drives but in the cloud.
Whatever Google will do around music, it will probably be successful but Apple is not concerned. There will be a Google Music app.
Photo: Mengfei Sh