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RAIN 4/30: Apple shuts down Lala, wants $1MM cover charge for iAd; Jobs trashes Flash

Posted on: 04/30/2010

APPLE MAY USE LALA TO LAUNCH CLOUD-BASED iTUNES AS EARLY AS JUNE

Apple-owned streaming music service Lala has announced it will shut down by May 31. The service is not accepting any new users and existing users will receive iTunes store credit for purchased songs, wallet balances and gift cards. Lala launched in 2006 and for several years owned now-defunct webcaster WOXY. In late 2009, Apple bought Lala (RAIN coverage here), sparking speculation that Apple would launch a cloud-based music service of its own using Lala staff and technology. Today’s announcement has reignited such speculation.

“Some speculate Apple may announce a Web-based version of iTunes this June at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference,” observes PC World (here). Sources told CNet (here) after Apple bought Lala in 2009 “that Lala’s engineers and leaders would help spearhead a cloud-based streaming service.”

ENTRY FEE FOR APPLE’s iAD PLATFORM REPORTEDLY $1 MILLION

Wired reports that Apple will charge advertisers a minimum of $1 million to run ads through the company’s recently-announced iAd platform. Additionally, if advertisers want to be included when the mobile ad service launches, they’ll need to shell out $10 million. Apple collects 40% of this revenue and the developer of the app on which the ads run will receive 60%. This means free apps could be more easily monetized.

The costs are steep for advertisers though: between 5 and 10 times what other ad networks charge. “But because media companies only advertise within a single app or group of apps,” Wired’s Eliot Van Buskirk writes (here), “they can never match Apple iAd’s reach. Couple that with the exclusive access Apple has to the aggregated metrics of pretty much anyone who’s ever bought anything from Apple, especially via iTunes — and a developer agreement that bars competing ad networks from collecting data from devices (RAIN coverage here) — and that’s quite a competitive advantage.”

JOBS ESSAY DARKENS FUTURE OF FLASH ON iPAD, iPHONE

The future possibility of Flash support on Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices was already doubtful, but after a new essay from Steve Jobs it’s downright grim. “Flash was created during the PC era—for PCs and mice,” the Apple chief writes. “The mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open Web standards — all areas where Flash falls short.”

Apple — as well as Microsoft (more here) — prefers HTML 5 over Flash. Meanwhile, Android mobile devices may be getting Flash support as early as June (more here). “Caught in the middle,” as The Wall Street Journal reports (here) are app developers. Webcasters too are affected by Apple’s anti-Flash stance: Triton Digital Media VP/Strategy Jim Kerr suggested after the iPad launched that webcasters would be better off making iPad-friendly websites and streams rather than mobile apps (RAIN coverage here). Many services’ streams and sites rely on Flash support however, making such a strategy challenging in light of Jobs’ recent comments.

BUSINESS WEEK: YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF LISTENING TO A LOT MORE MUSIC WITH SONOSZONEPLAYER

“Whether you’re listening to your iTunes collection or streaming music from services like Pandora, Rhapsody, or Sirius XM Radio, the [Sonos ZonePlayer S5] — which starts at $399 — works with nearly every file format and delivers impressive and expansive sound,” writes Business Week in reviewing Sonos’ popular wireless speaker system. They found the device to be easy to use (“practically anyone” can set it up in 5 minutes) and easily moved around the house. The review also hints that support for iHeartRadio will be coming to the device in coming updates. “Don’t worry about consulting a manual,” the review concludes (here). “You’ll never find yourself fiddling with obscure settings on your router. You may, however, find yourself listening to a lot more music.”



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