Pandora Dodges Apple's Bullet -- For Now


Pull up a chart of Pandora's (NYS: P) trading on Wednesday, and you'll be in for a brief burst of volatility. The stock may have opened at $10.03, but, shortly after 2pm, it had whittled all the way down to $9.41. It could've been a bad day, but just a few minutes later, the stock was all the way up to $10.55.

Did the music discovery service raise its guidance, roll out a new service, or unearth a treasure trove of unreleased recordings? No. Pandora's spike had little to do with anything that the dot-com speedster did.

The answer was found in Yerba Buena, California, where Apple (NAS: AAPL) was unveiling its latest hardware and software updates.

The stock bottomed out just as Apple began talking about its iTunes update, only to take off when the world's most valuable tech company shifted gears to talk about its new line of colorful iPods.

Pandora's stock took a hit last week on reports that Apple was in negotiations with record labels for licensing rights to offer its own streaming service. When Apple had nothing to say on the front, Pandora bulls were able to breathe a sigh of relief.

This doesn't mean that it's not coming. Even the original article claimed that the service was months away launching. It doesn't make sense for Apple to stay away from the booming streaming market, and Pandora's living proof. The company announced earlier this week that its listening hours and active listeners for the month of August soared 70% and 48%, respectively, over the past year.

Then, again, why is everyone so worked up about Apple? Spotify and iHeartRadio have added music discovery features to their popular platforms over the past year. Sirius XM Radio (NAS: SIRI) plans to introduce its own Pandora-like platform later this year.

It's not just Apple gunning for Pandora. Yes, the company dodged a bullet this time, but cynics are still underestimating the body armor that comes with the company making it this far. Apple's grown so largeover the last several years that its entry into any market can send the incumbents running (ahem... Pandora), which just further underscoreshow pervasive this company truly is. The Fool's newpremium report on Appledetails the opportunities and challenges in store for its shareholders. It's also been updated to include new iPhone 5 details!Check it out now.

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