The Los Angeles Times is reporting this morning that Apple Computer Inc. is in talks with Vivendi Universal to buy the world’s largest music label, Universal Music Group. The reported price for the company could be as much as US$6 billion.
While Apple and Vivendi Universal declined to comment, LA Times sources said Apple might make a bid for the company before Universal Music’s April 29 board meeting.
“Defying conventional wisdom, Jobs apparently is betting that music is finally on the verge of becoming a profitable presence on the Internet,” wrote the Times. “Apple has been quietly testing a service that some music business insiders believe could pave the way for widespread online distribution of songs.
People who have used Apple’s much anticipated music service said it makes “downloading and purchasing music as simple and nontechnical as buying a book from Amazon.com.” However, analysts say making the download and purchase easy is just the beginning, Apple would also have to make the music cheap for consumers, possibly as little as 10 cents per song.
Quoting people close to Jobs, the article says that he feels the music industry is about to turn a corner in the copyright war. The continued crackdown on pirates will force users to look for a legitimate source for music downloads.
While the service will be targeted to Mac users, the Times anticipates a version of the service for Microsoft Windows users, as well.
Contacted by MacCentral on Friday, Apple declined to comment.