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Spotify's new desktop client cuts off iTunes

While Apple stomps on less-legit alternatives

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The latest client from music streaming service Spotify will talk directly to an iPod, removing the need for iTunes to vet everything copied onto every Apple music player.

The new desktop client will synchronise playlists, and offline content for paying customers, with Android and iOS devices. That's particularly important for Apple customers who have previously been forced to run everything through iTunes, and could help Spotify's American aspirations.

Not that success for Spotify should upset Apple unduly – Cupertino still makes its money from selling hardware, though it does like to use software to tie customers in. Should Apple launch its much-discussed streaming service, Spotify will be a significant competitor; but for the moment Apple is busy removing less legitimate alternatives such as "Any Music Downloader" which was, for a moment, the most popular iPhone application available.

Any Music Downloader also bypassed iTunes, by searching various dodgy (and less dodgy) websites for any named MP3, which it would then download for local playback. That certainly counts as facilitating copyright abuse, and so Apple pulled the app from the store - it has since vanished from the developer's site too (though not before Wired got a copy to play with).

Apple is unlikely to be so aggressive with Spotify, especially when Spotify's owners include the major labels, whom even Apple can't afford to annoy too much.

Those record labels want a competitive market for music downloads and streaming, and by making Spotify's desktop client a replacement for iTunes, they have created one. ®

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