Steven P. Jobs, the co-founder and chief executive of Apple, is an emerging force in the mobile phone business, thanks to the snaking lines of gadget fans who queued up last week to buy the iPhone. But now he faces a headache in an industry Apple already dominates — digital music.
The Universal Music Group of Vivendi, the world's biggest music corporation, last week notified Apple that it will not renew its annual contract to sell music through iTunes, according to executives briefed on the issue who asked for anonymity because negotiations between the companies are confidential.
Instead, Universal said that it would market music to Apple at will, a move that could allow Universal to remove its songs from the iTunes service on short notice if the two sides do not agree on pricing or other terms in the future, these executives said.
Universal's roster of artists includes stars like U2, Akon and Amy Winehouse.