Amazon is talking to Apple about licensing the Mac maker's online Music Store, the New York Post reports.
The paper claims the negotiations are at an "advanced" stage, but its sources say that the deal is by no means a done thing.
Amazon has yet to offer digital downloads for sale, despite "looking at it for years", as CEO Jeff Bezos said at the company's annual meeting last week. It certainly can't be for technological reasons that Amazon hasn't launched such a service, leaving only issues like business model, availability of content and music industry support as the main stumbling blocks.
So far, Apple seems to have overcome them. But Apple's service has yet to be offered to PC owners - it's Mac only right now - and it's hard to imagine Amazon not wanting to be able to sell to the broadest possible customer base from the start.
Of course, Apple's Music Store uses one-click purchasing licensed from Amazon, so there's something of a technology fit already. Then again, that may be the only connection between the two companies and the only basis for the alleged negotiations.
That Apple is going to offer the service to Windows users, complete with iTunes software, suggests that the service is viewed by the company as a revenue generator and not a tool to attract buyers to the Mac platform. Since Apple is already sending 65 cents per 99 cent download to the music industry, it might not be all that keen on sharing any of the remaining 35 cents with Amazon.
Then again, a co-branded deal with Amazon would expose Apple to more customers - PC or otherwise - than it might reach on its own, and would give it a useful bargaining tool to achieve other outcomes, such as replacing Amazon's current Windows Media and RealPlayer downloads with QuickTime/iTunes versions. ®