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NBC and Apple have finally parted ways. All NBC Universal shows have been removed from iTunes completely after talks to renew their contract fell apart. Disagreements on pricing led the partnership, once hailed for saving NBC's The Office, to founder. But Apple found an unlikely replacement: News Corp.'s Fox studio, NBC's joint-venture partner in online-video site Hulu.

News Corp. has always been less vocal than NBC in supporting the technically inferior Hulu. No wonder it's playing the field. Silicon Alley Insider claims that Fox is in talks to bring its movie collection to iTunes next year, perhaps in time for a Macworld announcement in January.

NBC, too, is hedging its bet on Hulu. Some NBC shows will also be available on Netflix for purchase the day after shows air on TV.

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The odd thing about both of these deals is that Hulu, which was supposed to function as a licensing agent as well as a video website, doesn't seem to be involved. With both of Hulu's ostensible backers looking elsewhere for online-video distribution, the question isn't whether iTunes is in trouble. The question should be whether anyone believes in Hulu anymore.

(Photo by MD111

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