updated 04:40 pm EDT, Tue May 31, 2011
Recent negotiations stepped up, sources say
Apple is still trying to negotiate for movies and TV shows on iCloud, just a week away from the Internet service's formal announcement, two sources close to the talks are quoted as saying. Even though discussions with Hollywood studios have been in progress for more than a year, Apple has allegedly intensified its efforts in recent weeks. Several stumbling blocks are getting in the way of allowing cloud hosting of movies, the sources note.
Among these is the so-called "HBO window," a standard arrangement in which a movie's airing on the cable network requires other companies to temporarily stop sales or distribution. Applying the same concept to iCloud would be extremely problematic, as customers would be unable to stream a movie that they already own. HBO's parent company, Time Warner, may actually be in favor of allowing cloud streaming, but is nevertheless said to be in the middle of hashing out the problem. A deal is just a matter of time, film industry sources claim.
The initial focus of iCloud is expected to be on music. The service may mirror a person's iTunes library, allowing users to stream music on a computer or iOS device without having a local copy handy. Movies and TV shows would be a coup for Apple, and the company could still conceivably launch on June 6th with video not covered by the HBO window, including material from Disney, Paramount and Sony Pictures.