By Robin Wauters
Om Malik got a tip from an unidentified source who told him that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) purchased the domain name icloud.com from a Swedish company called Xcerion (which recently renamed its iCloud service to CloudMe) for about $4.5 million. This is most certainly a possibility.
Last week, we also received a tip that Apple purchased iCloud.com. I immediately followed up with Xcerion and asked the company whether they changed their name because Apple had purchased the domain name / trademark from them and why they changed their service’s name to CloudMe if that weren’t the case.
Here’s what they replied to me back then:
We decided we needed a name change to better reflect our new focus on files and storage, where the desktop is just one of many clients to access files and content stored in CloudMe. Since we a couple of months ago launched our iPhone and Android app, WebDAV and the automatic backup software, Easy Upload for Windows, Mac and Linux, we now have many clients that interact with our users’ content. There also are a lot of third party apps and software supporting the CloudMe online computer.
The virtual desktop and all its apps will continue to be an important piece of our offering and, with this new release, we have increased cross-browser capabilities, speed and stability.
If you have any files to share with me – Just CloudMe :)
As you can tell, they pretty much danced around the main question and mostly promoted their wares, but for what it’s worth, Xcerion clearly claims they decided to change their name as part of an effort to showcase its shifted focus to cloud storage.
Here’s the thing: it would be a serious coincidence for both GigaOM and ourselves to receive a tip about Apple buying iCloud.com separately (Malik also managed to get a purchase price, which we didn’t) and I have a feeling Xcerion didn’t respond to the question whether the purchase happened because they signed a confidentiality agreement with the Cupertino computer giant. Maybe that’s what they’re really celebrating (see screenshot above).
To conclude: there’s a strong possibility Apple bought iCloud.com, but neither Xcerion or Apple has confirmed this at this point. And even if Apple did buy the domain name, this doesn’t guarantee that they’ll end up using it as a brand name (see the iSlate story).
Apple is clearly plotting to launch a cloud-based media storage and online music streaming service in the foreseeable future, and iCloud would fit the company’s product naming strategy. But Apple also owns iTunes.com and it would make a lot of sense for them to use it for the cloud-based music service instead (if only for brand recognition).
We’ll know soon enough, I wager (WWDC is scheduled for June 6 through June 10, 2011)