As reported at The Verge and others, Google announced their new music store today. As is the custom in these parts, I’m puzzled by Google’s decision. What do they have to gain? Android sales? Why not partner with Amazon to offer media?

Apple’s music store was created in part because no other online music store existed at the time, and Apple had iPods to sell. Amazon created theirs in part because the DRM on iTunes music prevented music from playing on non-Apple devices. Now everything is DRM-free, and online music is everywhere. So what does Google gain from entering this incredibly low-margin business?

I get the feeling sometimes that Google just wants to be in the business of anything that’s popular. I don’t blame them for wanting to be free from dependence on other companies’ music stores, but why launch now, without all the record labels on board?

I’ve always viewed Apple and Google thusly: Apple looks at something and says, “We can do that better”. Google looks at something and says, “We can do that cheaper”, or sometimes, “We can do that also”.

The difference is that if Apple learns they can’t do it better, they don’t do it. If Google learns they can’t do it cheaper, apparently they still do it.

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