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Google's iTunes rival might be too late

Google Inc entered the online music market today - almost a decade too late to pose a threat to Apple Inc, the largest seller of songs on the Web.


The service, unveiled at a Google event in Los Angeles, lets users store and stream as many as 20,000 songs online and listen to tracks on multiple devices. Google has forged partnerships with 1,000 record labels, including Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, letting it offer a total of 13 million songs.


Apple, meanwhile, opened its iTunes store in 2003. Google's new challenge to Apple escalates the rivalry between the two companies, already locked in a fight for smartphone users and mobile-advertising customers. The internet- search giant also faces budding competition from Amazon.com Inc, which has bolstered its music-download and storage service, and Spotify Ltd, whose partnership with Facebook Inc has buoyed US membership this year.


They're coming into this market rather late in the game, where there are large, established players, you can say it's a saturated market. Google, the biggest Internet-search provider, has expanded into music, television and movies to bolster sales of devices running its Android mobile software. The company, based in Mountain View, California, also will let users share music on its Google+ social network.

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