Macworld readers' opinions are divided straight down the middle regarding Apple's much-rumoured – and denied - acquisition of Universal Music Group Inc..

In a poll, Macworld readers were split narrowly against such a buyout, with 43 per cent of the 521 voters saying "No, look at AOL/Time Warner". 42 per cent disagreed saying "Yes, Apple needs music, and music buyers need Apple". 14 per cent of the poll weren't sure.

Comments included: "Apple will end up losing its cash cushion during the purchase, which means it really has to sort out its professional line fast."

"One of the biggest problems Apple technology has in the wider Windows-dominated world is that media companies do not cater for Mac OS. Owning the largest record company in the world would give a tremendous strategic advantage to Apple which other companies could not ignore - that you cater for windows only at your peril."

"This will not be for MP3 music - Apple will most likely use this acquisition (if it happens) to leverage MPEG-4 technology against competing technologies (most notably Windows Media Player). If the rumours of Apple's music download service are true, then owning Universal gives Apple tremendous strategic advantage to stop the record companies ganging up and sabotaging the service."

"The way the Apple logo has become more and more predominant, (especially on the front of their stores in the US) I wonder if Steve's long-term plans are to make Apple more of a diverse brand. entering into music, clothes etc in the future. Or if he's planning on making Apple a group of companies, trading under different names.

"If you think about it, he already has the stores in the US. They do look bigger than they need to be (except for the days after a new product release). It wouldn't take much to split off sections to sell these other products in the future. How much space do you need for some computers and laptops? And if these products took off, he could always open new bigger premises. I could imagine an Apple-branded clothes line, more than I could an IBM or Microsoft brand. Microsoft Cola, or heaven forbid MSCondoms…".