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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Apple and Amazon.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: People who own iPhones, iPads and iPods will now be able to purchase music from Amazon, directly onto those devices. NPR's Laura Sydell reports on Amazon's latest attempt to compete with iTunes.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Selling digital equipment - music, films, TV shows and books - is a rapidly growing business. Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon are all in it. All of those companies also sell their own mobile devices and for the most part, their stores are only easy to use if you have their hardware. Google's Play store doesn't work so well on an iPad; iTunes doesn't work so well on a Google Nexus. But retail sales have always been at the heart of Amazon's business, says Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research.

SARAH ROTMAN EPPS: Amazon is finding that - especially with music but really, with all of these media assets - the more places a consumer can access them, the more value they have. And what the company is really selling is access, even more than they're selling content.

SYDELL: Last December, Amazon unveiled an instant video app that lets users stream, or download, movies and TV from Amazon to Apple devices. The company says its customers were asking to buy music from Amazon's store, on Apple devices.

Still, Rotman Epps doesn't think that Amazon's latest move will cut into Apple's iTunes business. Some 70 percent of digital music sales are made through the iTunes store. Amazon has been throwing more money into its expanding business. Last fall, it posted its first quarterly loss in nearly a decade.

Laura Sydell, NPR News, San Francisco.

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