One of the more competitive services in the technology industry is streaming music. A number of companies are duking it out for control of the multi-billion dollar market, from Pandora to Spotify to Apple Music and more. Companies are seeking out every advantage they can to grab on to a few more subscribers.
Apple, in particular, has been aggressive in this space, which is particularly important to it given the slowdown in hardware sales across the board. One tactic Apple has often turned to when it needs a component to flesh out a winning strategy is acquisitions. It pulled out the wallet recently in picking up some assets from now-defunct streaming service Omnifone, as Techcrunch reports.
Apparently, Apple is cherry-picking some employees and technology to plug into Apple Music, information that was revealed as Omnifone founder Rob Lewis embarks on setting up a new streaming music service, Electric Jukebox. While Apple typically discloses their full acquisitions, the Omnifone investment does not qualify and thus Apple has been mum.
Apple’s investment in Omnifone, which occurred in August, was rumored as early as July when bankruptcy proceedings made note of a potential buyer of parts of the company for $10 million. The rumors, which named Apple specifically, were discredited — seemingly a bit too soon as it turns out.
The Omnifone staff that will reportedly be making their way to Apple headquarters include engineers that are now involved with iTunes and app development. Omnifone has more than 50 registered patents across a wide range of streaming technology such as media identification and downloading. While it is unclear which technology was purchased, it is clear that it will make its way into Apple Music and iTunes at some point.
The Omnifone investment highlights just how much of Apple’s Music service is a result of acquisitions, as the company also purchased Swell, Lala, MusicMeter and, of course, Beats, the latter of which is an important part of Apple’s music business going forward. Apple is clearly serious about making its streaming music service a success and there is even speculation that it will lower the price of Apple Music plans to make the service more competitive — proving the market is big enough when Apple is willing to spend money to grab a larger share.
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