If you need more proof that the computer and music industries are converging, sources told The L.A. Times and The New York Times that Apple is reportedly in talks with Vivendi Universal to purchase its Universal Music Group for as much as $6 billion. Such a move would make Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and chief executive, one of the most powerful players in the record industry.
According to these sources, Apple hasn't made a formal bid but may offer up to $5 billion or $6 billion for the music company before Vivendi's April 29 board meeting. Vivendi has been trying to cut its debt by selling its assets, including its U.S. entertainment businesses.
This move also seems like an unlikely pairing, as Apple coined the term “Rip, Mix, Burn,” what some in the music industry see as an invitation for illegal online music downloads.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft was also approached by Vivendi's Universal Music Group as a buyer. The Journal reported that Universal Music heads, including chairman Doug Morris and Interscope Geffen A&M label chief Jimmy Iovine, are looking for other buyers or investors.
Apple and major labels also recently announced plans for an online music subscription service, in which Apple users could buy and download digital music files on their Macs or iPod portable music players. It is expected to debut at the end of April.
According to the Wall Street Journal, sources close to Jobs said that he is only interested in using UMG's music for Apple's new service, not in buying a record company.
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