Hammacher Homepage 300x250“When it comes to understanding consumers and what they will want, Apple is one of the strategically smartest companies in the world. And the recently reported deal to acquire music streaming start-up Lala is another indication that the company is planning to become the central cloud for consumers,” Erik Sherman writes for BNET.

“That raises some interesting questions about what the future of the company might be, because focusing on the cloud means realizing that business is beyond proprietary hardware and software. And the answer may be a clever marriage of open and closed, promoting Apple hardware and eventually making it king of the personal computer heap,” Sherman writes.

“Why Apple might want a streaming company is head-scratching, in an odd kind of way” Sherman writes. “It should be crystal clear. An important business to them is selling access to downloading songs. Streaming media is a natural counterpoint, because there will be people who want the equivalent of a radio station, with a larger variety of music than the typical collection, and streaming should also lead to additional track sales. And if you can stream audio, why not video or e-books or any kind of media?”

Sherman writes, “This would also seem to logically tie to the big server farm that Apple is building in North Carolina… [Then] last month, we saw that Apple filed a patent on a way to force people to watch ads and which could be used to let a user obtain ‘a good or service, such as the operating system, for free or at reduced cost.'”

“Time to tie it all together,” Sherman writes. “You have streaming media, enforced ad-watching, and rumors of the new cheaper device coming out. So add it all up. How about advertising-supported streamed media that also ties in to subsidized hardware? And don’t assume that the media is just music.”

Full article here.

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