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Google Inc. (GOOG): Retail Stores Unnecessary; Paid Music Service?

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) – the third-most popular stock position among the equity hedge funds we track – has had a large amount of success with its Android operating system on smartphones and tablet computers – with basically no specific brick-and-mortar showroom for the products. However, as Nexus devices and the Chromebook computer evolves (with the recent release of the premium Chromebook Pixel), there has been some rumored chatter and discussion that Google is making moves to establish retail stores for its devices and various operating system offerings and services. Might these retail stores include an opportunity to try out a paid music streaming service?

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)Well, first of all, a couple of Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) executives had an opportunity to address the rumors about Google Stores appearing in a mall near you. Let’s just say that “mum” is a word in England. Google’s Android chief Andy Rubin talked about this at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, saying, “for Nexus, I don’t think the program is far enough along to think about the necessity of having these things in a retail store. … Google has no plans and we have nothing to announce,” when pressed about Google Stores.

Jamie Rosenberg, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) vice president of Google Play, said, “I’ve seen the same rumors you have, I’m not going to comment.” Well OK then.

So while it seems there may not be any retail stores coming in the short term, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) does seem to be moving forward with a subscription music service hat may compete with Spotify and Pandora, among others. Word is that Google is currently talking with major music labels to set up licensing agreements and develop a paid streaming service which would allow users to download music and save it in the cloud. Google did launch a paid service for Android users through the Android Market, but this service seems to be directed toward being available beyond Android, like Spotify – which can be accessed virtually anywhere, from TiVo and webOS to Linux, Windows and iOS. This is reportedly directed toward generating more users and loyal customers into the Android ecosystem.

What do you think about Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and the retail store concept? And what do you think about a subscription music service run by Google? Do you think either of these ideas will help or hurt the business model? Give us your opinion in the comments section below.

DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.

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