The Google Plan to Annihilate iTunes

Steve Jobs is brilliant but I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him.

The Apple CEO has a long memory and he punishes those who get in his way.

You saw what happened with Adobe.

When Jobs and Adobe got into a dust up, it was the end for Adobe on Apple’s cool and very popular new products – iPhone and iPad. Even Humpty Dumpty couldn’t put that relationship back together again.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt was an Apple board member but as soon as Schmidt made google eyes at some of Apple’s new products, Schmidt was off the board and the two were at each other's throats.

Google then proceeded to go after Apple’s iPhone with its Android operating system which resides now on Apple’s competitors.

Google is looking for a pound of flesh out of Apple and its latest plan which utilizes the search world it monopolizes is interesting to study.

Google is prepping a music download service that is tied to its search engine. Consumers can buy tracks just like – dare I say it – Apple’s iTunes store.

All this could come about before the end of this year.

At some point in 2011, an online subscription service will follow.

Nevermind that the record labels may not be on board with Google right now. If someone brought them an idea to use vinyl in the early 20th century, they’d probably reject it. Then sue them.

It gets worse – or better.

Google is working on a plan to tie this new music access system to phones utilizing its Android operating system along with web access.

Google started rubbing it into Jobs’ face as early as last year when it started linking to partner websites like iLike and Pandora from its search engine. This made it possible for people to access music at a click from the Google search page.

I haven’t seen a groundswell of positive reaction from this feature yet, but …

Back to the record labels.

They can’t see straight on a good day and Jobs has pissed them off (and vice versa). So the labels will probably help enable Google to stick it to Apple in the hope that Apple’s 28% market share for iTunes music can be eroded.

Imagine that.

You hate Jobs so much you’ll risk hurting yourself to diminish Apple’s position.

But Jobs plays by the same rules. It’s just that he’s a lot smarter.

Follow me here.

Jobs is stealing the digital book franchise away from Kindle and Amazon through its iPad (3 million sold in 80 days).

Google wants into that market, too.

Think sometime this year for a starting date.

We already know everyone wants at Apple’s iTunes store with 100 million consumer credit cards at the ready just waiting to buy things.

And if you haven’t picked up on the “I’ll have what he’s having” mentality, Google is likely to get into the cloud-based subscription business that will be compatible with Android phones.

You know Apple bought LaLa, promptly folded the failing subscription music service solely to gain ownership of its cloud technology.

All this is good clean (well maybe not clean) fun. At least it is competition and even this Apple shareholder will tell you competition spawns innovation not consolidation.

It’s good for consumers and shareholders.

But there is something equally important to observe.

Google will not beat Apple.

Google's plan for an oneline/mobile music store store is hopelessly lost because it is too late. Apple is that far ahead.

Another reason: Apple makes cool devices, aggregates the content that works on them and takes a piece of the action.

That piece of the action – believe it or not – is mere chump change to Apple.

Apple is in the business of selling electronic devices. It needs content to fill those devices and make them as desirable to use as they are to hold in your hand.

That’s why Rhapsody is dying on the vine right now. It has lost hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Even if Rhapsody could attract several more million it would not be much of a business compared to Apple.

Not to worry – Google is not giving up its day job – search.

Apple is not letting anyone catch up to them in electronic devices.

Music – that thing we all love and can’t live without, that thing that is the second word in the title of this blog – has been relegated to filling content on cool electronic devices.

In the alternative, music is also no longer a big business (at least not as big as when record labels found talent, nurtured careers and sold vinyl or CDs). It seems that increasingly music exists for Apple – and maybe to a lesser extent its clones.

But music has never been stronger.

More variety.

More artists.

More access to music online and on the go.

Different tastemakers – not just djs and record promoters.

That leads me to conclude that the music industry is dead, but music is very much alive.

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