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Apple to beat Google to the punch at cloud-enabled music services

Apple was hard at work bringing cloud storage of music to customers using iTunes - perhaps as a music locker extension to MobileMe as rumoured late last month. At the same time, Google has its own plans to bring a similar competing service for devices running Android, and it has acquisitions to back that up.

A Toronto-based mobile music company, PushLife, was acquired by Google earlier this month. PushLife offered a way for users of iTunes and Windows Media Player to send their music libraries to Android and Blackberry devices. The second step for Google was to acquire a remote media company, Simplify Media, in May 2010. However, despite Google's manoeuvers, it appears Apple may end up beating Google in the race to bring music-in-the-cloud to the masses, according to sources familiar with both the companies' plans.

As Reuters reports, the cloud extensions to iTunes have been completed. Apple is hoping to secure deals with leading music labels in time for the service's launch. In contrast, Amazon's launch of Cloud Drive earlier this month went ahead without consulting the labels over the new service, leading to friction between them and Amazon. Amazon argues the service is simply an extension of the users' licenses to the music they purchased via Amazon. However, the labels threatened legal action over the licensing changes, and as a result Amazon has agreed to discuss a new music locker implementation with the labels.

There is no current date set for the launch of a cloud-enabled iTunes, but we can expect this to arrive in time for Apple's annual music-themed event this coming September. As for Google, current plans are to explore a subscription-based service, but no launch timeframe is imminent, as according to an industry executive, Google "keeps changing what they're asking for."

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