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Many speculations have been made about Apple's purchase of the Lala music service. One person in the industry believes they know why.
In a guest post on TechCrunch, Michael Robertson, who you might know from MP3.com and other online services, believes Apple will introduce a cloud-based music service. As for the reason behind the purchase of Lala? Robertson believes that Apple is using it not for the music licenses (because they are non-transferable), but for the cloud-based storage system that Lala helped pioneer.
Lala had a small piece of software that, when placed on your computer, let you stream music you owned over the Internet in addition to the music purchased on the service. This is the same model that Apple has with iTunes in that you can put music you own in the same application alongside of the music you purchase on iTunes.
According to Robertson, "An upcoming major revision of iTunes will copy each user’s catalog to the net making it available from any browser or net connected ipod/touch/tablet. The Lala upload technology will be bundled into a future iTunes upgrade which will automatically be installed for the 100+ million iTunes users with a simple 'An upgrade is available…' notification dialog box. After installation iTunes will push in the background their entire media library to their personal mobile iTunes area. Once loaded, users will be able to navigate and play their music, videos and playlists from their personal URL using a browser based iTunes experience."
If these rumors turn out to be true, it might be an interesting few years for Apple. They might have just enough users already with iTunes/iPod/iPhone to shake up the market and the smaller music services.
You can read Robertson's full article on TechCrunch.