Apple iCloud UK Launch Delayed Until Q1 2012

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Apple’s iCloud is not likely to hit UK shores until next year, due to ongoing negotiations with rights holders

The UK arrival of Apple’s iCloud service has been delayed until at least next year, it has been revealed.

Earlier this month chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled Apple’s long-rumoured cloud initiative at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. At the same event the upcoming Mac OS X “Lion” and iOS 5 operating systems were also unveiled.

Essentially, the Apple iCloud stores a person’s music, video, contacts and other data in the cloud, allowing consumers to move music and movies around, and share content between all their devices.

Delayed UK Launch

But for the IT industry, the announcement was more significant, because Apple has been selling digital content for a long while, but now it is selling access to cloud content which it stores in a massive data centre.

This has led to some green concerns because Apple’s data centres are regarded by Greenpeace as some of the world’s “dirtiest”.

But now it seems that the music storage part of the iCloud, due to launch in the US around September, will not arrive in the UK until at least the first quarter of 2012.

The delay is apparently down to digital copyright issues, specifically with the music industry.

A spokesman for the Performing Right Society (PRS), which ensures that composers, songwriters and music publishers are paid for their work, told The Telegraph newspaper, that negotiations with Apple about ensuring rights in the UK had started but were at a “very early stage”.

“The licensing team at the PRS have started talks with Apple, but are a long way off from any deals being signed…It is very much the early stages of the negotiations and is similar to the launch of iTunes – which began in the US and took a while to roll out to other countries,” the PRS said.

Q1 2012

“Tentative talks have begun between the major labels and Apple in the UK,” an unnamed music executive at one of the major record labels told the Telegraph. “However, all talks are at the really early stages and no one expects to see the cloud music service live on this side of the pond until 2012.”

This news comes amid reports that Apple has only recently signed deals with the all the major labels in the US, and is yet to sign up all of the independents.

Of course, Apple faces substantial competition in the consumer-cloud arena from the likes of Amazon.com, which recently launched a cloud-based locker and player for music, and Google, whose own cloud-music offering recently launched in beta.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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