The WSJ uses Apple's purchase of streaming music service Lala, swooping in to pry it out of Google hands, as a way to tell the tale of two humpbacked giants clashing in a conflict that's been going on since earlier this summer, first marked—publicly anyway—by Apple's high-profile non-rejection rejection of Google Voice from the App Store.
More recently, Apple tried to buy AdMob—one of the dominant players in mobile advertising—not only to make more money off of iPhone apps, but to keep Google from buying them. Interestingly, the WSJ says Apple "has been exploring buying iPhone-related technologies that it doesn't yet have," meaning we could be seeing more Apple acquisitions soon, or perhaps more bloody bouts of Apple and Google wrestling over companies, especially since Google wants into music, and Apple wants into mobile ads, according to the WSJ.
The other interesting bit the WSJ drops is that "Google is also talking to handset manufacturers about building phones with more prominent Google branding and more preinstalled Google applications," which sounds sorta kinda like a Google phone.
The WSJ article seems to take a tone of surprise, or shock, that Apple and Google compete on so many fronts, and I'm not quite sure where it's coming from. They're so huge, that guess what? They're gonna bump into each other. It's just inevitable. And it isn't even ugly yet. But it will be. [WSJ via MacRumors]