Panasonic Could Challenge Pandora -- or Sirius

As if competition from Rhapsody, Spotify, Sirius XM Radio , and weren't enough, free-music-streamer Pandora may have a new rival to contend with. On Monday, Japanese electronics titan Panasonic announced that it has just bought Germany's Aupeo GmbH, a "leading content and audio streaming service" based in Berlin.

If that sounds too far away for Pandora to worry about, Panasonic brought the threat home with a press release Monday that warned ominously: "Aupeo has global reach providing consumers with a unique content experience." And despite the plethora of music-streaming choices out there today, Panasonic believes there is still "a considerable need for a connected and personalized media content platform that enables consumers to access content on any device while also enabling businesses to have a richer relationship with their customers." So it's buying Aupeo to help provide that platform.

According to a press release on the acquisition, Aupeo is already licensed to provide music streaming in more than 40 countries, and offers more than 6,000 channels of terrestrial radio, podcast streaming, "and other services."

The acquisition, while a threat to Pandora, may worry investors in car-focused satellite-radio provider Sirius XM as well. Describing its desire to own Aupeo on Monday, Panasonic noted that the company "will further enhance the leading-edge technology and customer relationship tools Panasonic is able to offer its automotive customers." It added: "Aupeo's technologies and content delivery platform provide a solution that is complementary to Panasonic's automotive, business-to-business, and business-to-consumer product lines."

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