Win, place, show: why Apple is losing in the cloud music game

May 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Apple has traditionally been an innovator. A leader in new technologies. They’ve also been very good at taking other people’s ideas and making them awesomely their own (remember our friend, the mouse?).

I haven’t been a big Apple fan lately. I had a falling out with them over iTunes and new iPods a couple of years ago. I saw the writing on the wall then – everything was moving online. Why in the world would I need to pay a premium for an Apple laptop that could connect me to the Internet in the same way as a PC laptop that was a third of the cost?

The race to the cloud has only grown over the past couple of years, and in March,  Amazon threw down the gauntlet as the first company to offer cloud storage for music purchased from their store. For free. You can also upload up to 5 gigs of music (or other data) before you have to start paying for storage.

I figured Apple wouldn’t be far behind in the online storage game. They’ve already been criticized a lot for still making iOS users plug in to sync apps, music, etc. and it would make sense for them to reconfigure how their devices work to be more cloud friendly. iTunes has essentially worked the same way for 10 years.

Today, though, Google became the second big player in the online music scene. They launched their Google Music service which allows you to upload all of your music online. For free. This service then keeps all of your playlists in sync, and when you add music, it’s instantly available on all of your devices.

Apple is still conspicuously absent.

They are expected to come out with their service in June, but if it doesn’t live up to the features already offered by Amazon and Google, offer some level of improvement over those services already available, and most of all, if it’s not free,  it could be a major point of failure for the fruit flavored “most valuable brand.”

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