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Napster To Be Acquired by Google? 138

YesSir writes "The New York Post claims that Google is considering an alliance or possibly an acquisition of Napster. Rather then starting their own, Google could jump start their music service with the help of Napster. Napster's share price soared more than 30 percent as a result of the report that they are in discussions with Google." From the article: " The company in January told Reuters that it was not on the block. 'The company is not looking to be sold, the management is not looking to step out. It's simply not true,' a Napster spokesman said on Jan. 23. Last week, Napster, founded by college student Shawn Fanning and was once synonymous with the pirating of music, laid off 10 managers." More information available from C|Net. Update: 01/31 19:16 GMT by Z : A Reuters article has Google denying that it has plans to acquire Napster or start a music store anytime soon.
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Napster To Be Acquired by Google?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:28PM (#14608835)
    Napster, founded by college student Shawn Fanning, as far as I can tell doesn't really exist any more. AFAIR Roxio bought it because they had a brand that meant "mediocre software" and wanted a brand/name that meant "cool".
  • Finally! No more annoying Napster commercials.
  • by cybrthng ( 22291 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:30PM (#14608850) Journal
    Coming to a GNu world gnear you! You can google your songs, google your bands, you can even joing mygooglespace to talk to people and we will watch everything you do so we can recommend gnew music to you as well!

    We gnow what you gneed
  • Idiots (Score:5, Informative)

    by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:31PM (#14608858) Homepage
    This "Napster" is not the company founded by Shawn Fanning. This is the company that was formerly known as Roxio that sold off all of their software assets to Sonic and then hired Shawn Fanning and bought the name Napster.

    This company has been mismanaged from the moment it was spun off from Adaptec. This would not surprise me in the least, but unfortunately it is probably a really good move for the current Napster folks. They will make out like bandits.
    • Shawn Fanning's first incarnation of Napster went completely bankrupt after the lawsuits. How did he get to keep ownership of his trademark? I would have thought the bankruptcy court would have made him auction off the trademark.
  • by satchmodian ( 657710 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:31PM (#14608862)
    Google already came out and denied any involvement with napster, according to this []
  • Again? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Kesch ( 943326 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:31PM (#14608864)
    Is it just me, or can you not go a day on Slashdot without hearing that google is trying to reach into a new market?

    I'm already ahead of the curve; I have faced the inevitable and sewn "Google" into the tag on my underwear.

    So what will this new service be named. Noogle? Gnapster? Goopster? Goosic(As in Google Music)? Or the best combination og Music+Google: Moogle!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Let's wait for official world of an imminent buyout before we start pissing over ourselves with inane discussions. That's two in a row today.
  • by ChrisGilliard ( 913445 ) <christopher.gilliard@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:32PM (#14608870) Homepage
    Remember earlier this month, we had this: this []. I've even heard people rumor that Google will be building a Space Elevator. Where do these people come up with this stuff? Who knows, this one could be right, but there's still a lot of these out there.
    • Except that a space evlevator would be cool! Somehow this reminds me off the Transmeta rumors back then (you know the website with the hidden message in the source HTML?) , oh, those were the days. Somehow us geeks need stuff to dream about, Google seems to be the saviour of the day...
  • Actually... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) * <shadow.wrought@g ... om minus painter> on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:32PM (#14608878) Homepage Journal
    The napster acquisition is further down the list. Next up is Cisco after they've acquired Nintendo. The whole shebang will be paid for after the Goobuntu Vista project comes to fruition.
  • Yeah... er... no. (Score:2, Informative)

    by pperon ( 555607 )
    From Reuters: A spokesman at Google's Mountain View, California headquarters was not immediately available to comment. However, a spokeswoman in Google's U.K. office told Reuters, "I can completely deny the report." "No, we have no plans at this time to develop a music store, or to compete with existing online and offline music retailers," the spokeswoman said in a prepared statement."
  • Denied! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:33PM (#14608888) Homepage
    Google said: "We have no plans to acquire Napster, nor do we have plans to develop a music store at this time." 13:01 EST
    • And your source for this amazingly fixed width denial? I would say you should cite your references or be considered meaningles rabble.
      • sigh.. I did put the time of the wire service release. Considering your post is 90 minutes later and an hour after mine, maybe you could have checked any finance site first?
    • There is no music in the Googleplex. The music is committing suicide at the gates of Mountain View.
  • I've got both my shuffle and mini ready!
    Can't wait!
  • Ummm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:34PM (#14608896) Journal
    Is this only news because Google is supposedly not buying Napster?

    How is Napster even relevant anymore?

    Raise your hand if you use Napster's service.
    Now everyone who has iTunes, raise your hand.

    Napster was the first on the market with a pay-for-music service and they still couldn't turn that into a leading position.
    • that's cause they don't make an ipod, dude.

      just curious: how many IPODS do you have. Be honest.

    • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Interesting)

      I use both. Napster is a great way to preview whole tracks or albums. Itunes I use for buying a copy to have. Napster is slow, but other than that, it's pretty cool for 10 bucks a month. The ultimate device would allow you to play what you want, where you want, when you want it. I know it can be done with current tech, but I'm talking about directly out of the box functionality. I would happily pay for that service.
    • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by finkployd ( 12902 )
      They have managed to sell themselves to a lot of Universities. The basic idea is that the University pays $x per student (well, they student pays in reality) and the service is licensed to any and all of the University's population.

      • My understanding was that the large universities that had negotiated such agreements were essentially paying a RIAA tax so that they'd stop getting those pesky legal letters.

        Some of those major Unis had to create a "copyright compliance officer" as a result of the DMCA & the RIAA flooded those officers with notices... to the point that the "officer" turned into an office.

        It was cheaper to sign up all the students for Napster than to continue the way they were.
        • > My understanding was that the large universities that had negotiated such agreements
          > were essentially paying a RIAA tax so that they'd stop getting those pesky legal letters.

          Duhhh... nice university/company youse got here. Youse wouldn't want something terrible to happen to it like a meritless, but damn expensive, lawsuit. For only a few million per year in prot^H^H^H^H licence fees, we can guarantee that nothing terrible happens to youse.

          Please Google, don't buy Nap
      • And that $x per student is going into a service locked exclusively into MS Windows.
  • Considering a recent Slashdot story about an analyst's predictions that Google may be gearing up to compete against iTunes, combined with their recent launch of Google Video [], I think they may be on to something.

    And of course, combined with the fact that Microsoft [] is also interested in this market, I think 2006 could turn out to be the year of video and music downloading.

    • As I recall, that "prediction" was not in fact a predication. It was simply a statement that it would make sense for Google to do this. Congrats - you found some guy who thinks Google should create a music store. If I find some guy who'll say that it makes sense for Google to create an OS, does that mean that they are? Oh, wait, that's probably how this rumor got started.
  • If you were sitting in Napster's corporate offices in December, you were probably wondering what was worse, the quick death you thought you would get or the slow painful fall into nothingness you seemed to find.

    Now, if Google is really interested, they cannot come out and say "please save us." They need, like SCO, to keep at least the illusion that they are viable so the price does not plummet before they can sell.

    I do wonder though, what does Google get out of this?
  • In other news... (Score:2, Informative)

    by RyoShin ( 610051 )
    Amongst many of the rumors lately, one has come to the forefront, and may be the end or beginning of us all.

    According to the International Herald, God plans to acquire George Bush. More specifically, they state, God intends to acquire the office of President of the United States, and use that to help turn more people towards His Will, as well as enacting greater protection for national forests.

    "Absolutely crazy," stated Vice President Dick Cheney, caught between heart surgeries. "God has never talked to us.
    • "Absolutely crazy," stated Vice President Dick Cheney, caught between heart surgeries.

      Technically, upgrading an android's internal components is not surgery - it's only called surgery when you operate on a living being.

  • by Eightyford ( 893696 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:37PM (#14608927) Homepage
    This reminds me of the spending spree done by tech companies during the stock price boom of the late 90's. Google has now found themselves with a shit load of cash, and they figure they better do something with it before people realise how overvalued the stock is.
  • ...leaking tips about its future strategy (like that previous news []), and confusing the competition.
  • by dbleoslow ( 650429 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:39PM (#14608952)
    Napster, founded by college student Shawn Fanning...

    He must be having trouble chossing a major. I suggest something involving computers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:39PM (#14608957)
    Seems google is about to buy everything.

    Google CEO visits Vatican. Share price in Catholicism rocket.
  • ... Goopster, to go with the vaporic Goobuntu. Goo and Goop as far as the eye can see.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:40PM (#14608964)
    It's been, like, thirty minutes since the last Google story and I was really starting to Jones out.

    Thanks for the Google fix.
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:40PM (#14608969)

    Hey editors...if you're going to insist on a news story every time someone from Google gets up and makes a peanut butter sandwich, can you at least give us a Digest version?

    You know...instead of 3 (or more- it's only lunchtime so far) stories a day about Google, ONE Googleback?

    If you think I'm joking, you're right. What I really want is a section for just Google, so that I can click the "NOT ON MY HOMEPAGE" checkbox.

    While you're at it, I'd also like a "web logs" section, so that I can block crap like "Boing-Boing gets a scary letter from a 15 year old kid who 'called the FBI on them for harassment on the intar-web'".

  • Isn't Napster just a me-too user of MS's DRM like everyone else? It's just a brand name slapped on top of MS's proprietary (but free-as-in-koolaid) media system, right? Why would Google buy technology (they sure don't want the logo/brand) based on lock-in to a MS proprietary DRM layer? Aren't they trying to unseat MS?
  • But I suppose that would make napster cheaper than rahsody which is $10 a month.

    I bought my Ipod because of Itunes and I now realize there are much chaper alternatives. Its a wonder why napster never caught on? Price is alot cheaper than Itunes. But with google behind it I am sure it would become popular.

    I am waiting for a google movie/audio player. Microsoft has monopolized the market which is a shame. Windows is now required to watch porn with some codecs which is hurting Linux. The only alternative is th
    • Windows is now required to watch porn with some codecs which is hurting Linux.

      What hurts Linux is the success of DRM'd media rentals and sales. When one click synchronizes your downloads to multiple devices, high-def for your plasma TV, low-def for the backseat of your SUV, the list grows to millions of tracks and titles, perhaps the entire RIAA and MPAA catalog, and the monthly fees remain within budget, no one will give a damn about "freedom."

      • I thought it was just me who got this one...

        Windows XP Media Edition, XP Media Connect, XBox 360, and several 3rd-party gizmos, linked with portable players, and powered by Windows Media DRM and sync technology. I don't care if I paid &pound;0.79 for a track if it's 'just there' on everything.

        Apple need to get their Video AirPort sorted to keep competition for this 'unified media' thing alive. I personally think Apple have the upper hand, since one of their strong points is making things just work.
  • cahnge in strategy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pvt_medic ( 715692 )
    I think what gave google the initial boost was just how it came up with its own way of doing things and how it tried to be unique. Goodle products were made by google people, and many of them were a result of employees just thinking up new ways to do things. Sure not always it was ground breaking, but they tried approaching challenges with a different perspective. If google starts buying up areas that it wants to expand to it will loose its charm. I think they are already beginning to face this challenge
  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:46PM (#14609040)
    The company in January told Reuters that it was not on the block. "The company is not looking to be sold, the management is not looking to step out. It's simply not true," a Napster spokesman said on Jan. 23.

    January 31, 2006
    We are sad to report that the same spokesman was seen earlier today being taken out by stretcher crying,
    "It can't's simply not true! It's not truuuuuueeee!!"
    Napster will neither confirm or deny anything until the stock price hits double digits.
  • I thought for a minute that this rumor might be true. I mean, since Google has decided it's not too evil to help the Chinese government censor the internet, what would the harm be in peddling badly DRM'd music ?

    But then I realized, no way. Google might be evil now, but they didn't suddenly become stupid as well... they're more likely to buy a company that could possibly become profitable. Which pretty much excludes Napster.

  • a search for the keyword "google" on shows slashdot as the first result!
  • by Fr05t ( 69968 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:48PM (#14609073)
    I don't know how this all got mixed up, but I am closely involved in Google's next acquisition. To bring all of these silly rumors to rest I am proud to formally announce that Google is going to buy my WANG.

    That's right, it will be by invite only in it's beta stage next week.
  • Oh man Microsoft is finished now!!!
  • Please make this true.
  • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:59PM (#14609184)
    When the iTunes store first opened, a lot of people at /. bitched and moaned about how terrible it was that you were forced to buy individual songs or albums. Who would want to do that when you can pay a monthly fee and listen to everything in the catalog with a subscription service?

    As it turns out, a lot of people actually.

    The "all you can eat" method sounds great in theory, but the tracks from the major subscription services are often saddled with layers of rules and restrictions well beyond those you find with iTunes. Extra fees for moving them to portable music devices, extra fees for burning them to CDs and oh yeah...when you stop paying your monthly fee, everything goes away. Hundreds of dollars over years gone with one missed payment. All that money and you own absolutely *nothing*.

    iTunes is not perfect, iTunes has problems. The artists do get far, far less than they should, but that is due to the way the contracts are written between the labels and the artists. Yes, you are restricted to playing (but not storing) the songs to any 5 computers at once (which you can change as often as you like). No, Steve Jobs can't lower the prices to 10 cents a track like you so often hear the uninformed claim. Yes, you can put the songs on as many iPods as you want without restriction. No, you can't get higher-bitrate tracks even though that should be an option. Etc.

    At the end of the day, can buy one song for 99 cents and that song will be there for you to play today, tomorrow and next year, the year after, etc. Wherever you want, whenever you want. You can buy that one song, buy 1,000 songs it doesn't matter. You only pay when you want to pay, and you don't feel compelled to justify what you spend each month, because unlike Napster and the Yahoo! Music Store, you only get what you pay for, and you only pay for what you get.

    The dominance of the iPod, and its incompatibility with the other services is only part of the reason iTunes' competition is withering on the vine. People want to feel like they are left with something at the end of the day, and iTunes delivers that better than anyone else.
    • by Breakfast Pants ( 323698 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:17PM (#14609353) Journal
      "and oh yeah...when you stop paying your monthly fee, everything goes away. Hundreds of dollars over years gone with one missed payment. All that money and you own absolutely *nothing*." If you are going to make criticism at least understand how the system works. If you miss a payment, you can simply pay again next month *and still get all the songs you had before*. What you are saying happens doesn't make any sense. Lets say I join netflix, if I miss a month's payment, when I join back I don't have to do something to build back up to having access to netflix's full catalog: the same thing applies here. So it's not if you miss *a* month; it's if you quit subscribing permenantly.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      When the iTunes store first opened, a lot of people at /. bitched and moaned about how terrible it was that you were forced to buy individual songs or albums.
      No. No, they didn't. The response was, in fact, quite enthusiastic.
  • Google google google google. Google, google google. Google google. Google sexy lingerie google, google google google. Google!

    (bit of a Google overload today)
  • Will Goognapster run on GoogOS?
  • Google is going to release a new version of their toolbar.
    Google is going to bundle a bunch of useful software for the PC together.
    If we are going to make stuff up how about this.
    Google is going into Bio-tech.
    Using Google's search experience and expertise in clustering Google is going into bio-tech. They feel that once they have enough sequence combined with medical records their search technology will find the genetic markers for all disease.
    In a secret deal with the Chinese government Google now has over
  • Does anyone ever investigate the investment behavior of the people originating these rumors to see if they're attempting to manipulate stock prices? After seeing that recent article suggesting that Apple had a battery life problem because of a Windows driver issue with the Core Duo cpu, I really had to wonder.

    I really doubt that Google wants anything to do with Microsoft DRM. They avoided it with video. Buying Napster for the name makes no sense since it's a joke at this point. And buying it to have acc
  • ... the geek from the recent remake of "The Italian Job". After all, it was all his idea, and he seemed pissed enough to hit Google for squillions.
  • An unsubstantiated report from gP Reuters states that Google is considering the acquisition of the United States of America. A senior management source who would not be quoted said that this is clearly in keeping with the company motto "Do No Evil". Google sees the purchase of the USA as a chance to continue their practice of buying half finished or poorly built products and improving on the product. The first order of business will be to restructure the government to provide quicker response with minima
  • It would be just plain silly for Google to BUY napster and try to COMPETE with the other music services. That's not how be the master of the internet universe and all it's data. To be the omnipresent magnificence that google really aspires to, it seems much smarter to partner with ALL of the music services. If I'm new to the world of buying music online and want to find "Like a Virgin", I google it, and it hooks me up with all of the services that carry it, and how much it'll cost me from each provider. Go
  • Napster is dead, its been dead since it Metallica destroyed it :) It's not a left over cancer that no one wants to touch.

    Google's screwing up, if they think its a good idea to infect the google name with the cancer that is Napster.

    Yahoo's desktop search is better than googles.
    Yahoo Desktop Widgets is great fun.

    Google shouldnt spread itself so thin, and start a real unified movement.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors