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Apple gains control of iCloud domain

The company, which is rumored to have paid $4.5 million for the domain, is scheduled to unveil a cloud-based storage system of the same name next week.

The Whois domain registration record for iCloud.com.
Screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET

Apple has taken administrative control of the iCloud.com domain, according to a Whois domain directory search, a week before the company is scheduled to unveil a cloud-based storage system of the same name.

The domain, which was previously owned by Sweden-based "hybrid cloud computing" provider Xcerion, was rumored to have been sold to Apple for $4.5 million. In April, Xcerion moved its cloud-based storage service from iCloud.com to CloudMe.com, however iCloud.com currently redirects to CloudMe.com

Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company announced yesterday it would kick off its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday with the details of iCloud, a much-rumored cloud-based music storage service. The company also indicated in the press release that CEO Steve Jobs, who is on an indefinite medical leave, will be on hand for the announcement.

Predictably, Apple did not provide specifics about iCloud in yesterday's announcement, but details of such an offering have been materializing for some time. Multiple sources told CNET in January 2010 that Apple executives had spoken to the top four recording companies about plans to offer a streaming music service free of charge to consumers.

Apple has since reached licensing agreements with three of the four top record companies, including EMI Music, Warner Music, and Sony Music. That would leave Universal Music Group as the lone holdout, but sources tell CNET that the recording industry's largest label is close to a deal with Apple.

Licensing agreements with all four major labels will allow Apple to launch a fully licensed cloud-music service to rival unlicensed offerings of rivals Amazon and Google. Even though Google had been negotiating to obtain licenses from the four largest record companies for more than a year, the test version launched earlier this month without licensing agreements in place. Amazon employed the same strategy when it launched its cloud-music service in March.

Apple yesterday filed for the trademark rights to the iCloud name with the Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union, listing various classifications, including one for "electronic storage of data, text, images, audio, and video; storage services for archiving electronic data; information and consultation in connection therewith."