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Apple’s new music service to let users store iTunes library in the cloud

Apple cloudIt appears that Apple is close to going live with its cloud-based music service, according to a Reuters report.

It was as recently as one week ago that news was circulating regarding Apple’s hiring of Kevin Timmons, the man instrumental in the building of Microsoft’s cloud computing network. It seems like this guy doesn’t hang around.

The Reuters report cites “people who asked not to be named as the talks are still confidential” – although who the talks are between isn’t exactly clear. Presumably it refers to the record companies – possibly the exact same record companies that were in discussions with Google recently about its own Google Music service – talks which, according to an industry source, “have gone backwards.”

Apple’s cloud-based service would allow users to store their iTunes music library remotely, thereby enabling them to access it anywhere, so long as they have an Internet connection.

According to the unnamed sources in the Reuters report, the Cupertino company has not yet signed any licenses for the service, which in our estimation puts them at about the same stage as Google in its discussions, although no reports have yet surfaced of Apple’s talks encountering any particular difficulties – unlike the search engine giant.

Having said that, the seemingly trivial matter of music licenses didn’t stop Amazon from recently going ahead with its own cloud-based service, Cloud Drive. Amazon initially claimed that its service did not require any licenses as the music uploaded to Cloud Drive belonged to the user, while the record labels argued that Amazon only had licensing rights to sell, not stream, music. Since then, Amazon has been holding talks with the music industry to try to reach an amicable agreement.

If Apple does get its music service up and running before Google, we certainly know what cloud they’ll be on (clue: it’s one more than eight). The computer giant’s preparations for its cloud-based offerings have included the building of a massive data center in North Carolina at the cost of some $1 billion. An official announcement by Apple regarding an online music storage service has yet to be made.

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