Apple snapped up online music streaming start-up Lala, and now attention has turned from the what to the why, with three areas of focus: the streaming itself, the talent behind it, and/or the bundled pay model that financed it. For those catching up, Lala scans a user's hard drive for music, then allows them to stream that music over the internet, from anywhere, desktop or mobile. In other words, cloud-based iTunes.

Apple PR's Steve Dowling sheds little light himself:

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans.

The traditional "source familiar with the matter" told Reuters:

Apple recognizes that the model is going to evolve into a streaming one and this could probably propel iTunes to the next level."

While the New York Times is hearing, from "one person with knowledge of the deal":

This person said Apple would primarily be buying Lala’s engineers, including its energetic co-founder Bill Nguyen, and their experience with cloud-based music services.

Some have also mentioned Lala's payment system, which might handle bundled transactions more cheaply for Apple than iTunes' current system. Still, regardless of the reasons, like the PA Semi and PlaceBase purchases, it will be interesting to see where Apple goes with Lala. Any guesses?

UPDATE: MediaMemo is reporting, based on multiple sources, that Apple paid around $80 million for Lala.

UPDATE 2: TechCrunch says the sale price was closer to $18 million:

[via MacRumors]