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MobileMe boxed copies going away

Apple is reportedly informing third-party resellers that boxed versions of MobileMe are now discontinued. Retailers can continue to sell their existing inventory, but supplies will not be replenished. This latest information falls in line with earlier rumors that suggest Apple may offer MobileMe as a free service with cloud-based digital lockers for music, photos and videos.

In this scenario, Apple may briefly move to a digital-only sales model to let retailers sell their existing stock. Once the standing inventory is depleted, Apple will transition MobileMe to a free service in the upcoming months. Adding fuel to the fire of these rumors, Apple has removed the paid version of MobileMe from its online store, offering the service as a free 60-day trial.

During its annual shareholders meeting on February 23, the Cupertino company also confirmed that it is getting ready to flip the switch on its North Carolina data center. The $1-billion center is rumored to serve as the hub for its free MobileMe service and possibly a cloud-based version of iTunes.

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