Universal, world's largest music company, refuses to renew iTunes contract

Looks like a pillar of iTunes content might be on the brink of collapse -- Universal Music, the world's largest music business, has officially opted not to renew its contract with Apple for vending music on the iTunes Music Store. We don't know specifically what caused Universal to turn away -- perhaps it's the weight of the rising anti-DRM movement among consumers, or perhaps it's because of Stevie J.'s brash negotiating tactics, continual refusal to hand over iPod cash, or oceanic persistence in keeping tracks locked in at $0.99. Whatever the reason, we can't say we're all that surprised; Universal's been a pain in Apple's ass for years now. So what's the end result? Well, Universal music will still be sold through iTunes at will, so that means consumers can keep buying tracks for the time being, but Apple runs the risk of losing Universal's content on very short notice if the companies don't make happy with one another and put pen to paper once more.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]