Following months of rumors, Apple appears to be in the early stages of launching its own in-house content delivery network, the latest in a series of steps taken by the company in recent years to reduce its reliance on third-party infrastructure vendors to deliver content to customers.
Only a small portion of Apple's massive content trove is handled by the new CDN, with current players Akamai and Level3 reportedly continuing to serve iTunes and iTunes Radio, respectively. The change was first spotted by Dan Rayburn of StreamingMedia.com.
AppleInsider has independently confirmed that some binary downloads through the Mac App Store are now served from hardware residing in Apple's own 22.214.171.124/8 network block. Apple is one of only a handful of private organizations to have been assigned an entire Class A IPv4 block, making connections to its services easy to spot.
Apple is thought to have spent more than $100 million to build out its new CDN, including infrastructure costs and the signing of paid interconnection agreements with major internet service providers such as Comcast. The iPhone maker has reportedly added "multiple terabits per second" of capacity, a nearly tenfold increase over its current capabilities.
Though it is not yet known how Apple plans to realign its content delivery strategy, any major change could be particularly damaging for Akamai. The company — into which Apple invested $12.5 million before selling its shares in 2004 — currently counts on Apple for nearly 10 percent of its business.