updated 03:30 pm EDT, Fri April 30, 2010
iTunes may get web version but not locker
Apple is reading a web version of iTunes but isn't close enough to switch it on after it shuts down Lala next month, leaks from the music industry hinted today. The company is now believed to be in talks with labels but that the progress is "preliminary at best." Such timing makes it unlikely to go live in time for WWDC on June 7th.
According to extra AllThingsD sources, the talks are so early as Apple's attempts to create an online iTunes locker stalled out. Label officials purportedly interpreted the feature as multiple uses, which they believed would give them a right to charge extra for each track. The widely rumored service would have let iPhone and iPad owners listen to an existing collection without necessarily needing either locally stored copies or a web browser.
Pure speculation also suggests that Apple could try for a simple subscription service, but company chief Steve Jobs has long objected to "renting" music as an alternative to pay-per-track ownership.
Apple still has over 70 percent of US market share of MP3 players, according to NPD, and has a large amount of control in other areas; it has yet to face significant competition from Microsoft or others whose music stores center on subscription plans.