Last year, Apple acquired streaming music service Lala.com. Lala was unique in that members could listen to new tracks in their entirety (iTunes only allows you to listen to a clip) and then purchase the rights to stream the song for pennies. Timing of the deal was suspicious as Apple swooped in just as Lala announced the pending approval of their iPhone app, which would allow members to access their music catalog via an iTouch or iPhone. While some question Apple’s motive to make the deal (because as a standalone service Lala would pose a competitive threat to iTunes), most expected to Apple bring Lala into the iTunes Store “fold” and give members a choice to either purchase music download or streaming rights.
Unfortunately, in Microsoft-esque style Apple has pulled an embrace, extend and extinguish move with Lala. According to an announcement on the Lala website, the service will shut down on May 31, 2010. Some sites, including Gizmodo, are already questioning if this move will be followed by the release of a streaming service within iTunes but most think not. As a fan of Apple, I just find it amusing that the company, who is at odd with Adobe because of Flash performance concerns (which are valid; see my prior post on HTML5 and Flash) may get a pass for exterminating a competing music service.
While I’m not about to call Apple evil, I think that it is time for other fans to admit that Apple is no different than Adobe or Microsoft — it is all about business!