Google abandoned plans to acquire Rhapsody or Spotify due to internal fighting; Google Music planned to launch next year

Thu, Dec 16, 2010


Yeah yeah, we’re all familiar with the old tale of how Google and Apple used to be the best of friends before morphing into heated rivals. And yeah, it’s well-known that the main point of competition between Google and Apple revolves around the iPhone and Android. But there’s one area currently dominated by Apple that Google has been looking to get into for some time now, and that’s music.

Apple’s iTunes Music Store is a certified juggernaut and is currently the top music retailer in the US. Google, of course, wants to get in on the action, though rumors suggesting a Google music service have thus far proven fruitless.

Now comes a report via BusinessInsider that Google’s musical aspirations were impeded, in part, due to internal fighting within the company. Specifically, the report relays that Google was close to buying either Spotify or Rhapsody – both subscription based music services – but were unable to pull the trigger. Apparently three different groups within Google were “vying for control of the music service”, and ultimately a consensus on how to approach or perhaps construct an acquisition strategy was never reached.

Google places a lot of value on agility. Instead of having a strong dictatorial leader like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates sign off on every product decision, the company is organized in a collection of interdependent teams.

This is supposed to let Google respond quickly to market conditions. It can also create chaos and missed opportunities.

That roadbump notwithstanding, Google remains determined to get into the music game. Another BusinessInsider report details just how far Google is willing to bend in order to get highly sought after contracts from the major record labels. One source claims that Google is willing to spend tens of millions of dollars to placate record companies naturally wary of ceding even more power over to a tech company.

For now, Google is focusing on a music locker that will let users store music files that they already own in the cloud, then stream that music to Android phones and other devices. An all-you-can-eat subscription service like Spotify might come later.

Google’s foray into music is reportedly scheduled to launch sometime in 2011.



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