Google Inc. (GOOGL) Takes a Well-Timed Swipe at Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) unveiled its free music streaming service just days before Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is slated to launch Apple Music

by Karee Venema

Published on Jun 24, 2015 at 10:59 AM

To the dismay of Spotify and Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P), the streaming music scene has been all the rage of late, thanks to new ventures from hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and tech titan Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). While the former's Tidal has had a shaky start -- and just lost its second CEO -- Apple Music, a $10-per-month service, will debut on June 30. Just days ahead of AAPL's launch, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) unveiled a free tier of its streaming arm Google Play Music -- which will be funded by ad revenue, and can be accessed immediately on the Internet (and later this week on Android and iOS).

In what can only be considered a poke at AAPL, GOOGL made sure to stress the new service -- which will include the technology of Songza, a music start-up the company acquired last year -- will compensate artists. The iPhone purveyor came under fire earlier this week for its royalty payment plan, a blaze Taylor Swift was quick to put out.

Yesterday's announcement follows a string of headlines about possible new ventures for Google, including a rumored partnership with smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) and a potential buyout bid for real estate issue Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ:Z). Additionally, the company announced recently it is throwing its hat in the gaming ring, creating direct competition for, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).

On the charts, the stock has been choppy since hitting its most recent high of $584.70 in late April. This week -- despite the broader Nasdaq Composite (COMP) exploring record highs -- GOOGL has stalled out in the $565 region, and was last seen lingering near $560.84.

Option traders, meanwhile, have grown increasingly skeptical of this lackluster price action. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), GOOGL's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.71 ranks in the 86th annual percentile. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-usual clip.

Outside of the options pits, however, sentiment is more optimistic toward Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL). Of the 28 analysts covering the shares, 23 maintain a "buy" or better rating, with not a single "sell" to be found. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $639.54 stands in record-high territory.

A Schaeffer's exclusive

6 Sectors for Summer

Access your FREE insider report before it's too late!



NEW! Explore Schaeffer’s Partners' deals and get connected to top online brokerages with deals tailored exclusively for our readers.  Get answers to your questions regarding transfer fees, commission rates, programs and available discounts related to online trading services.

MORE | MARKETstories

The Next Big Player in U.S. MJ Boom
Most pure-play marijuana stocks in the U.S. trade on the Over-the-Counter stock exchange.
Coffee Stock Drops Despite Cost-Cutting Initiatives
Starbucks asked employees to further limit working hours or take unpaid leave
Takeover Offer Sends Unloved Penny Stock Soaring
Western Union has offered MoneyGram a takeover offer
Huge New Legal Marijuana Market Has Shortage Crisis
250 million Europeans have access to medical marijuana. There's already a shortage....