Apple has finally taken control of the internet domain name apple.co.uk, which has been in third-party hands since at least 1996.
The change of ownership, which appears to have occurred on 6 July, means visitors to the URL are now bounced to the UK version of the official Apple website at apple.com.
Previously, the domain was in the hands of a British company called Apple Illustration, which used it for apparently legitimate purposes. The company has now relocated to appleagency.co.uk.
Nominet, the .uk registry manager, currently has no records for a cybersquatting case covering the domain – such a complaint would almost certainly have failed anyway – so it appears that Apple may have simply made the illustration company an offer it could not refuse.
Apple is notorious for not particularly caring about domain names. The company has a habit of launching products and brands before it owns the appropriate domains or even trademarks.
Apple has found itself splashing out millions on domain names such as iphone.com and icloud.com, which were already owned by other people before Apple settled on its brand strategy.
That said, Apple has won dozens of cybersquatting cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy over the years, largely covering typos and version numbers.
In recent months, it filed cybersquatting complaints about ipad3.com and iphone5.com, but both of those domains were voluntarily transferred to Apple before the cases could be heard.
The company still does not own ipad.com or ipad.co.uk, however. ®