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Apple plants seed of iTunes for Windows

The company shows signs of developing a version of its jukebox software for Microsoft Windows-based PCs--a key part of moving its newly launched music service beyond the Mac.

Soon you won't need a Mac to strike up your iTunes.

Apple Computer is developing a version of its jukebox software for Microsoft Windows-based PCs. According to a job posting on the company's Web site, it is looking for someone to design and build "Apple's newest Consumer Application, iTunes for Windows."

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The Mac maker said on Monday that it would extend its music service to Windows-based machines by the end of the year, but did not explicitly say that it would do so through a Windows version of its iTunes. The service, named iTunes Music Store, is currently only available to Macs.

When Apple released its iPod for Windows, it chose to bundle jukebox software from MusicMatch with the portable MP3 player rather than to release a version of iTunes for the Microsoft operating system.

Nonetheless, the iTunes application is an integral part of the Mac version of the music service, being the software that allows people to play music, buy songs and transfer them to an iPod. In order to sell music to play on Windows machines, Apple clearly needs either its own software or another program to fulfill these functions and to manage copying restrictions.

An Apple representative declined to comment further on the company's plans for iTunes and Windows.

In the Mac-only version of iTunes Music Store, Apple offers more than 200,000 tracks, with most songs selling for 99 cents apiece and many albums available for $9.99. Those who buy music can use it on up to three computers and download it to an iPod. Songs can also be burned to any number of CDs, though only 10 copies of any one mix of tracks may be made.

Although Apple has made Windows versions of a few of its titles, most of the Cupertino, Calif.-based company's software has been Mac-only, including all of its lifestyle programs--iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, iSync and iCal.