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Sources: Apple Ready to Roll with iTunes for Windows

Continuing its aggressive strides in the music industry, Apple's progress in the iTunes for Windows forum has reportedly jumped ahead of schedule.

Company CEO, Steve Jobs, has publicly advocated a release by year's end, though sources in the recording industry are citing a sooner than expected time frame. Furthermore, anonymous reports claim that active online functionality of the Windows store was in-place as of this past weekend.

With the final pieces of engineering in place, the decision to officially launch the service now lays in the hands of Apple Marketing. An announcement could come as early as next week, sources said, citing a date relevant to Apple's fourth quarter fiscal results statement, which will be announced after the close of the market on October 15th.

"Apple may attempt to boost spirits by countering less than fruitful earnings figures with an unveiling of the new Windows technology," one Apple analyst said. The company is widely rumored to post a shortfall in revenue due to Power Mac and PowerBook shipment issues throughout the fiscal quarter.

Additional reports on the subject expect the arrival of the service by month's end.

Apple's Mac OS X 10.3 Panther operating system was also scheduled for a release by the end of the year, though recent reports have shown the project to be ahead of schedule as well.

A week ago, Mac OS X 10.3 was sent to CD manufacturers for duplication and packaging. Over the weekend, Apple provided some of its strategic partners with download locations for frozen builds of both the client and server versions of the new operating system.

Some overseas Non-Disclosure Agreements, said to pertain to the software or its deployment schedule, were set to expire sometime today.