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Google Readying An iTunes Competitor?

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Just after announcing their One Pass app subscription system on the heels of Apple's announcement, there is buzz suggesting that Google will launch a music service to go with their new Android system, Honeycomb.

According to the Guardian, Sanjay Jha, chief executive of Motorola Mobility, spilled the news ahead of Google.

"If you look at Google Mobile services [via Android] today, there's a video service, there's a music service - that is, there will be a music service," Jha said, going on to elaborate that Honeycomb will "add video services and music services."

Apple's iTunes has drawn the ire of some music providers that feel squeezed by the cut Apple takes of their sales, but the Cupertino company still holds 66 percent of the digital music market.

Sony Entertainment CEO hinted that the company might withdraw from iTunes, with the expansion of their Music Unlimited service.

"If we do [get mass take up] then does Sony Music need to provide content to iTunes?" Ephraim said. "Publishers are being held to ransom by Apple and they are looking for other delivery systems, and we are waiting to see what the next three to five years will hold."

Sony Entertainment COO Shawn Layden later recanted, but the question still stands. Music provider Rhapsody has threatened to boycott Apple for their subscription plan, which takes 30 percent of profits off sales.

Google's Honeycomb is expected to arrive with the Motorola Xoom, a tablet that will take on the iPad, despite its hefty $800 price tag.

Rumors of a Google music service have been spreading for sometime. A Billboard report claimed the service would include both a download store, as well as a cloud-based locker that could charge $25 a year for storing songs, with a later update on the team assigned to work on the service. Apple's purchase of streaming service Lala, also prompted speculation that the company could also move towards a cloud-based system.

Android software already offers a way to sync a user's music. The Xoom is expected to start selling on February 24.


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