Apple grabs icloud.net domain to solidify links to sync and storage service

Apple this week took administrative control of the icloud.net domain, the last notable web address it did not govern that users could have linked with its online sync and storage service.

According to WHOIS searches today, Apple acquired control of icloud.net on Tuesday.

Apple already ruled the primary top-level domains for iCloud, the cross-device, cross-OS service that stores files generated by iOS and macOS, and more importantly, synchronizes everything from Safari browser bookmarks to photographs between iPhones, iPads and Macs. Apple is on record as the owner of the domains icloud.com, icloud.org, icloud.us and icloud.eu, for example.

icloud.com was acquired by Apple in June 2011, just days before then-CEO Steve Jobs unveiled his firm's new cloud-based service. Apple purchased the domain for more than $5 million from a Swedish company, Xcerion, which had used the URL for an online file-storage service.

Today, icloud.net continued to direct visitors to a small Asia-based social network. But that will not last long: The site's homepage displayed a message that said the service would be shuttered at the end February and that all user data would be "destroyed at [sic] March 1, 2017." An earlier message from the site's owner, Tong Lei, had designated Feb. 20 as the shut-down deadline.

"We decide to close iCloud.net and stop all its services," Tong wrote on Feb. 14, omitting any mention of a transfer to Apple.

Questions left in the comments section of Tong's post that asked how many users the social network had and how much Apple paid for the domain, went unanswered.

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