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Apple nears online streaming deal with Big Four, says report

Still waiting for Universal to sign on dotted line...

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Universal Music Group is understood to be the only holdout for Apple's widely reported new online music storage and streaming service.

According to Reuters, the Vivendi SA-owned company is the only one of the Big Four record labels not to have inked a deal with Apple – yet.

Warner Music Group, EMI Group and Sony Music Entertainment have all reportedly signed agreements with Apple in recent weeks, to allow the iPad and iPhone vendor to stream and sell their content online.

The news wire cited one source who claimed late on Friday that Universal was "within days of putting pen to paper on the new cloud service".

Last month Apple bought the iCloud.com domain name from Swedish company Xcerion for $4.5m, according to a report from GigaOm.

It's expected that Apple will reveal more about the iCloud moniker at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. A report from AppleInsider suggested recently that iCloud would be the next incarnation of MobileMe.

Apple has previously indicated that its Maiden, North Carolina data centre would support iTunes and MobileMe.

Meanwhile, a new application for the iCloud mark made by Douglas Dane Baker of North Carolina was submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on 6 May 2011.

"Computer application software for mobile phones, namely, software for the storing and sharing data, documents, files, information, text, photos, images, graphics, music, audio, video, and multimedia content with others via global computer networks, mobile telephones, and other communications networks for the purpose of file back up and synchronization, not including software for use in database management in the field of life sciences research or software for uploading or transferring advertising programs and media advertising communications," reads the goods and services description.

"Storage of electronic media, namely, data, documents, files, text, photos, images, graphics, music, audio, video, and multimedia content; Storage services for archiving databases, images and other electronic data; Storage services for archiving electronic data," it adds.

As we previously noted, Xcerion currently owns the iCloud trademark. ®

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