Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 02:32PM
As reported on the despicable Techcrunch and confirmed by the saintly Wall Street Journal, yesterday Apple acquired Lala, an online music streaming company. Why should anybody care? Well, first of all, it's Apple, and when my good, personal friend Steve Jobs -- who comes to my house for Thanksgiving every year -- does something, people take notice, even if it's just doing something small, like revolutionizing an entire industry.
Lala lets users stream any song in their library one time for free. If you want to listen to it again, you can stream it an unlimited amount of times for 10 cents. There's also a purchasing option, but who cares about that? iTunes already lets you buy songs outright. What iTunes doesn't do is streaming, and now everybody has their panties in a bunch over what this means for Apple's media plans. Everybody's jumping up and down with their predictions of what Apple will do with Lala, how this means that offering a music subscription plan is a lock for them, that iTunes 9.1 will have a streaming option, and all the rest. But you know what? Everybody's wrong, because they're all idiots.
What does Lala mean for Apple's plans? Absolutely nothing. Apple bought Lala because it wants to be able to keep doing what it's already been doing with staggering success for years now: selling downloaded music to chumps. They bought Lala so that all the other companies offering music subscriptions or streaming music would crap their pants because Cupertino's coming to town, and close up shop. Apple will clear out the field, and doesn't need to do anything other than shut Lala down in six months, and they're left with a perfectly undisturbed business model. They buy one company so everyone leaves them alone to run their business the way they already are.
It's absolute genius, and anyone who disputes my interpretation has their head so far up their ass they can see sunshine.
This has been Walt Mossberg. Shut up.