Google was close to buying a subscription-based streaming music service – either Spotify or Rhapsody, according to a source with knowledge of Google’s music plans.
But there were three different groups vying for control of the music service, and they couldn’t agree on their approach.
Consequently, the company has dropped those acquisition plans for now, and is building a music locker service instead.
Google places a lot of value on agility. Instead of having a strong dictatorial leader like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates sign off on every product decision, the company is organised in a collection of interdependent teams. This is supposed to let Google respond quickly to market conditions.
It can also create chaos and missed opportunities.
Sources tell us that getting things done at Google can be a real pain. Holding an event on Google’s Mountain View campus requires a committee to sign off, but outsiders don’t have any easy way to figure out who’s on that committee or how to reach them.
Eric Schmidt’s recent story that co founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page ignored his wishes and created a team to build a Web browser and operating system also suggests a company pulling in a million different directions at once.
Bureaucracy, missed opportunities, duplicate products, long-running antitrust investigations–perhaps Google really is turning into Microsoft.