Apple released a beta version of its Apple Music client for Android users today. Its a decision that flies in the face of logic. After all Android and Apple users are continually at each others throats and there has been a long proxy war between Google and Apple fought out against Android OEMs like Samsung and HTC.
However in the light of that battle, Apple's decision to support Android makes perfect sense, counter-intuitive as it seems.
Apple Music has two main competitors: Spotify and Google Play Music. Both are available cross-platform (Spotify's reach even extends to Windows Phone). Ordinarily this wouldn't be a concern for Apple, with close to a billion iOS users out there it could play in its own walled garden without worrying what's on the other side of the wall.
However, there is the small matter of family subscriptions to consider. These make much better sense than having individual users on different services.
Most families don't have a consistent preference for one device family however. And users also flip-flop between platforms. By being available only on its own platform Apple would be surrendering those users to Google, which offers a family subscription on both sides of the wall.
Whilst this is a big upside for Apple, it also accepts the risk of a similarly sized downside: Apple Music has been pretty awful on iOS. If the Android version proves to be as bad it could deter some users who might otherwise have switched on the basis that 'Apple just works'.
We know it doesn't, but advertising that fact to the users you're trying to convince it does could well backfire.