You know I’m no fan of Google but the writing is on the wall here: Google Music will prove to be successful for Google. I’m sure by now you know about its features with the ability to buy from a computer or your Android phone and it also has cloud features yadda yadda. Putting it next to iTunes, it’s a competitor and both have some benefits over the other but it’s not a game changer on its face. But that’s the misconception.
See Google Music doesn’t need to beat iTunes. Google has an ace up its sleeve that you can never forget about. That little thing it calls Android and it’s 200m current activations. That’s a real number. And for all of the ubiquity that iTunes represents, there’s no Android iTunes app and you shouldn’t expect there to be one. What Google Music represents is Android users ability to very easily buy and share music from their devices. Of course there are alternatives out there but if you’re using an Android device, this will be pre-loaded and come from a name you are familiar with and trust. In other words, expect a good chunk of those 200m users to use it and Android is only going up in usage over time. It won’t take over iTunes tomorrow but it will start to eat at it over time and the chunks get bigger as Android grows.
So why is it a failure for Apple? Apple has convinced itself that it has a unique ecosystem and if you want in you must use their hardware. Fine and all but we’re talking about selling music here not hardware. If you look at iTunes, iChat, iMessage and a lot of other iOfferings they are all consistent – if you want to experience them you need iOS. While that drives people to use and buy their devices it also sets up a wall. In fact, it makes you think about BBM and the way that so many held on to their Blackberry’s over time just for that but as time went on these closed systems have their inherent limitations since people want to be more social and that means opening doors, not closing them.
An iTunes app is not coming to Android. Google Music will be coming to the iPhone. See where this is headed?