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iCloud.com: Apple's most important development in years?

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There was no grand keynote, no 'magical' new product and the Apple Store didn't even go down for 'updating', but last week may have seen the most significant move by Apple in recent years: it bought a domain name.
 
The Cupertino company shelled out $4.5m for www.iCloud.com. The lucky beneficiary was Xcerion, a Swedish Dropbox rival, which has since renamed its service 'CloudMe'. It bought this domain just three weeks earlier. For now Xcerion is still listed as the owner of iCloud, but any attempts by Apple to keep this a secret are well and truly out the bag. 

To be fair this appears to be one secret Apple is not overly determined to keep. In April it openly placed an order for 12 petabytes (12,000 terabytes) of storage from Isilon Systems, enough for 160 years of HD video. In the same month it posted a job listing for a 'Cloud Systems Software Engineer' "to join the team building the future of cloud services at Apple". The company is clearly ramping up operations as it builds towards a public unveiling, possibly at WWDC 2011.

"At this year’s conference we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS", said senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Philip Schiller. "If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss."

Again this is big talk for a company which is famed for its secrecy ahead of events. So why the public posturing and thinly veiled business dealings? Because it wants, no… it needs everyone to know when it comes to Cloud services Apple really is working on it.

To put it bluntly this is because Apple is years behind when it comes to Cloud computing. When it comes to streaming music, rivals have not just come, but in the case of high profile failures like Sky Songs and Nokia's Comes With Music gone too. In fact these companies are already diversifying. Just last week Spotify was rumoured to be readying a movie streaming service after concluding deals with US film studios. Come on Apple.

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