The acquisition of music startup Lala by Apple, the company that gave us the iPod, iPhone and the iTunes, is big news for those in the business of online music; the impact of the purchase though is likely to be felt by tens of millions worldwide.
Techcrunch did put the records straight; Apple did not buy the company for its users - a paltry 100,000 paid customers that have generated $10 million - but instead for its engineers who have a wealth of experience managing cloud-based music services.
Apple pertinently knows that sooner or later it would have to launch an online version of iTunes as it faces a raft of hungry competitors with Real's Rhapsody, MySpace Music and Spotify leading the pack of those willing to topple iTunes.
For Lala partners such as Facebook and Google, it might be well time to look elsewhere as Apple is very unlikely to carry forward any previously signed partnerships.
For Lala users, Apple might find it simpler to let the service live on as it is for the time being and later gradually extend (or can) the whole concept to iTunes. The success (or failure) of Apple+Lala will depend on its abilities to convince the music labels that streaming is the future of music.
PCWorld posits that Apple's acquisition of Lala could mean cheaper prices; that's something that's unlikely given the fact that even iTunes' single tracks tariff is more expensive than the rest of the competition. Streaming prices will certainly be cheaper than for iTunes but certainly not cheaper than say, Spotify.
It is certainly only the beginning and Lala's purchase is certainly to have an impact on iTunes in the medium term. We're interested to find out how the rest of the competition - from Pandora to Spotify - will react to the impending arrival of Apple in the streaming business.