Ownership of iCloud.net was transferred to Apple sometime this week, TechCrunch reports. The site, which was owned by a software developer named Tong Lei, was a Chinese social network of sorts since its creation in 2011 and will be shut down at the end of the month.
In a blog post on Feb. 14, Lei said “iCloud.net finished his mission” and that it was time for him to retire.
Though it can’t be confirmed, there’s speculation that Apple might have paid $1.5 million for the domain, according to AppleInsider. In comparison, Apple reportedly bought iCloud.com from Xcerion for $4.5 million.
While it’s not unusual for companies to purchase domains that directly relate to its intellectual properties, the purchase some six years later, has raised questions about what Apple’s planning to do with it.
It’s not unusual for companies to purchase domains that directly relate to its intellectual properties.
The most logical thing would be for Apple to simply redirect iCloud.net to iCloud.com to fend off phishers and scammers.
Rumors, however, suggest Apple is planning to launch a social network/app of its own — one that might bolster its iOS Photos app and possibly borrow features from Instagram and Snapchat. Because, if you’re not copying Snapchat, you’re falling behind. Whether such a network would be located at iCloud.net is anyone’s guess.
Though Apple has failed terribly with “social” features in the past (Ping and Connect in Apple Music come to mind), the company’s “services” have grown to $7.17 billion in revenue — up 18 percent year-over-year.
iCloud.net could expand on the existing iCloud.com. Or it could just be a whole lot of nothing.