Rayburn, who closely tracks the content delivery market, reported Monday that Apple has formed a unit to build out a new CDN. Apple's decision could have ramifications for two leading CDN providers, Akamai (AKAM) and Level 3 (LVLT) that provide Apple with content delivery services.
"Since Apple is still in the build-out stage of their new CDN, it’s too early to know how this may impact Akamai and Level 3," Rayburn wrote. "We don’t know what scale Apple wants to build their CDN out to, what region(s) of the world they want to have more control over and how quickly they can get it done. Clearly, Akamai is more at risk than Level 3 though as Akamai’s contract with Apple is worth a lot more and Level 3 could still sell Apple other services it needs for their build out, like IP transit, fiber, co-location and other products and services Akamai does not offer."
Rayburn noted that Apple's efforts track similar moves by Google and Facebook to exert greater control over their networks.
Later Monday, the Journal reported that Apple "is signing long-term deals to lock up bandwidth and hiring more networking experts." In September Apple hired Lauren Provo, who ran the peering program at Comcast.