It’s been a bumpy ride of late for Apple, after being subpoenaed by the Australian Government inquiry into their digital pricing, and having their iPhone 5 music streaming deal quashed by a dispute with Sony ATV over their music publishing rights, the once undisputed king and market leader of the technology realm has hit another stumbling block.

Namely the delay in the release of the highly anticipated iTunes 11 has been pushed back, a move which may damage the tech giant’s current market dominance.

According to NME, Apple says it will be some time before iTunes 11 is available to the public. An Apple spokesperson said: “The new iTunes is taking longer than expected and we wanted to take a little extra time to get it right. We look forward to releasing this new version of iTunes with its dramatically simpler and cleaner interface and seamless integration with iCloud before the end of November.”

iTunes 11 was set to be released following on from the release of a new range of iPods which hit shelves a few weeks ago. The software was previewed at a September launch and features a handful of new features and a visual redesign.

According to The Huffington Post, iTunes will now be integrated with the media storage service, iCloud. Apple says this means music, movies and TV purchases made on any iOS devices or computers will be available from your iTunes library. Other new functions are an “up next” playlist that shows you upcoming songs, and the ability to cue up a new song to play after the current track.“The new iTunes is taking longer than expected and we wanted to take a little extra time to get it right.

Although unconfirmed, it is likely Apple has delayed iTunes 11 as they continue to work on their own streaming software. A dispute with Sony ATV had earlier hampered plans for the service after the two companies couldn’t agree on an acceptable royalty fee, but the company is continuing to develop a customisable radio station modelled on the successful US software, Pandora, which enables users to create a virtual radio station based on their musical tastes with the artists and songs that they frequently listen to.

Meanwhile, main rival Microsoft is also setting itself to enter the market. Last month Bill Gates’ tech giant confirmed plans to launch their new ‘all-in-one’ music service Xbox Music – across computer, tablet, phone, and Xbox 360. The service will offer users a collection of 30 million songs, which is nearly twice the size of the Spotify library.
Even Canadian music legend Neil Young has entered the fray, recently revealing plans of his new iPod killer, a digital music player that focuses on a recording technology that preserves the fidelity of music the way it was intended.

The delay to iTunes 11 may leave Apple stranded as competitors such as Spotify, Pandora and Microsoft push ahead, and the longer the company leaves their launch window open, the higher the possibility of it signalling the end of iTunes’ dominance in the digital distribution market.

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