(Mashable) -- Apple may get a nasty surprise this holiday season; rumors are swirling that Google's Andy Rubin is planning on a holiday-season launch for the search behemoth's new music download service.
According to a Reuters report, Rubin, the Google VP Engineering who oversees Android development, has been deep in talks with record labels and "hopes to have the service up and running by Christmas."
Google's service would be an iTunes challenger that would be deeply connected to the Android mobile operating system. As we reported over the summer, it seems the company plans to first launch a music download service and progress to an online subscription service by next year.
Ultimately, "Google Music" would be a cloud-based subscription service with the ability to stream directly to Android mobile devices.
An anonymous record label exec confirmed to the newswire that Google was, indeed, in talks with labels about launching such a service and that labels aren't at all upset about the prospect.
"Finally here's an entity with the reach, resources and wherewithal to take on iTunes as a formidable competitor by tying it into search and Android mobile platform. What you'll have is a very powerful player in the market that's good for the music business," the source said.
Right now, the ever-more-popular swarm of Android phones have an integration with Amazon's MP3 store, but it's not the best-integrated solution.
If Google can perfect a music downloading system and include some of the mobile-desktop syncing features we saw at Google I/O, they just might have a killer app on their hands -- one that would continue to allow Android to successfully challenge Apple's iPhone in the mobile market, too.
Google began its work in the music space last year with the launch of a music search feature. When users searched Google for any kind of music, among search results would be streaming audio previews and music discovery features from music-centric companies including Pandora and Rhapsody.
With the recent launch of iTunes 10 and built-in music social network Ping, Apple is aiming for a major revitalization of its music offering. But so far, users' reactions to the new software has been lukewarm at best.
Do you think Google could emerge in just a couple months with a winning approach to music downloading? How do you think this move might ? or might not -- affect Apple's bottom line? Let us know your opinions in the comments.
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