Amazon.com ( AMZN), which is reportedly preparing to take on Apple's ( APPL) iTunes service, may offer downloadable movies as early as this summer, according to media reports. The company has been talking to studios including General Electric's ( GE) Universal Pictures, Time Warner's ( TWX) Warner Bros. and Viacom's ( VIA) Paramount studios, according to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, citing people close to the talks. Amazon couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Should the service be successful, it would put pressure on iTunes, which sells episodes of some television shows for $1.99 but currently doesn't sell movies. Amazon's strategy is attractive to the studios, which are eager to encourage DVD sales. The Journal says that the studios are considering letting Amazon have the movies in its digital service at the same time that they are released on DVD. Online movie purchases would be more profitable to the studios than online rentals, the paper says. The movie rental business has seen increased competition for years. Blockbuster ( BBI), the largest movie rental company, Thursday reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter sales, in part due to its decision to eliminate late fees. Amazon's push into digital media is understandable, given the increased pressure it's facing in its traditional businesses (including books and DVDs) from well-heeled bricks-and-mortar store chains including Wal-Mart ( WMT). The company said the holiday season was its best ever, but nonetheless reported disappointing fourth-quarter earnings. Shares of Amazon have dropped 23% this year. They slid 20 cents early Friday to $35.92. One thing that Amazon does have in its favor is its popular imdb.com site, which provides a vast amount of information about movies and television and the people who work in the industry. The company also already is one of the largest sellers of DVDs and movies.