updated 08:00 am EDT, Wed October 19, 2011
Android chief hints Google music store gets twist
Google's attempt at a music store won't just be a conventional store, the search firm's mobile VP Andy Rubin said in a discussion Wednesday. He left the door open for AllThingsD and suggested it could be either pay-per-track or a subscription service. Whatever the strategy, it wouldn't strictly follow one model.
"It will have a little twist," Rubin said. "It won’t be just selling 99-cent songs."
What that would be, if anything new, wasn't clear. It's already known that any plans would see tracks made available through the Google Music cloud streaming service, much like Amazon's Cloud Player or iTunes Match. Ever since Google Music was unveiled, rumors and leaks have pointed to labels objecting to music locker terms and wanting to charge Google like they do Apple for letting users both download tracks and stream remotely.
Rubin didn't discuss the impasse in detail but did admit that it had let companies like Samsung step in and provide their own stores. "People went in and they filled the gap," he said.
Moving to other subjects, he didn't see the Amazon Kindle Fire as closing off Android. Even Google could still write apps for it, he said, although he didn't address Amazon limiting downloads to its own store. He went so far as to suggest the Kindle Fire might overcome Android's current inability to get any traction in tablets by popularizing the idea. "Maybe this is going to solve the tablet problem," Rubin speculated.
He also suggested an unusual approach to solving the patent lawsuits that are leading to Android devices being banned. He suggested that mobile-related patents could be treated like patents for GSM and MP3, where there's an established method for getting a license without having to negotiate each time. A "clearinghouse" would be ideal, Rubin said.