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More cracks in Apple's walled garden: Apple Music appears ready to launch on Google speakers

Key Points
  • Apple Music is apparently coming to Google Home speakers. An option to sign into Apple Music appeared in the Google Home app this week.
  • The move is yet another sign that Apple's walled garden is showing cracks. The service recently launched on Amazon Echo
  • Apple has put a renewed focus on digital services like music subscriptions as hardware device sales slow.
Apple Music appears at the bottom of the Google Home app.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Apple Music is apparently coming to Google Home speakers, yet another sign that Apple's famous walled garden is beginning to show cracks and that Apple is putting its services in front of as many people as possible as hardware device sales slow.

An option to link an Apple Music account appeared this week in the Google Home app, which is used to manage Google's smart home devices like speakers and Nest cameras. But the sign-in process for Apple Music doesn't work in the app yet. It was spotted on Tuesday morning before Google pulled it from the app later in the afternoon. It seems likely that Google updated the Home app with the Apple Music option before it was ready.

The move might help persuade people to switch to Apple Music from other services, at least among those who own a Google Home as opposed to Apple's more expensive HomePod speaker. The HomePod costs $349 — though retail partners often sell it for around $299 — while the Google Home Mini is much more approachable at $50.

Google Home already supports a variety of streaming music services, including YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora and Deezer. Until now, Apple appeared to be the big holdout from Google's smart speakers, which allow people to ask Google Assistant to play music throughout their home.

"Apple Music is currently only available for Google Assistant users on mobile phones," a Google spokesperson told CNBC. "We have nothing to announce regarding updates to Google Home."

Google's larger market share in smart speakers gives Apple an opportunity to boost subscriptions to Apple Music. Apple already offers an Android version of Apple Music, which has opened its music service up to the more than 2 billion monthly active devices that run Google's operating system. Now, those users, who are the most likely to own a Google Home, can play their songs in more places.

This is a new trend for Apple, as it begins to put more of a focus on services over device sales. At CES in early January, for example, Apple announced that iTunes was coming to Samsung TVs, which would let you purchase and stream movies and TV shows from Apple. Apple Music also recently launched on Amazon Echo devices.

Apple was not available for comment.

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