Why Apple Could Squash Pandora, But Won't

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Can Pandora (P) fend off iTunes Radio?

That's the headline of an article I read Tuesday evening.

There's no use linking to it because it's representative of nearly every other thing you've read or heard on the subject. Ever since I started covering Internet radio, the media -- be it scribes who rely on intuition or TV types who live and die by sensationalism -- has been several steps behind on the matter. Scratching at the surface only intensified when Apple (AAPL) entered the game.

Let's get something straight ...

Competition between huge companies that happen to have some type of Internet radio service and the smaller companies who have made streaming music their core mission and lone source of revenue does not exist in any meaningful way. Of course, on some level, Apple feigns competitive salvos at Pandora. But, ultimately, the turf Pandora occupies is just too small for Apple to aggressively pursue.

Because, let's face it, if Apple wanted to, it could do any number of things to wipe Pandora off the face of the Earth. It could buy Pandora or spend a tiny fraction of its cash to challenge Pandora in areas it should dominate by now.

You have to attempt to move away from the drug the media feeds of you. These guys turn everything into a dichotomy. Us versus them. Either/or. Black and white. They dilute multi-faceted issues into binary mindlessness.

So it's not a question of can Pandora "fend off" iTunes Radio.

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