Ericsson And Napster Teach Mobile World To Sing
The partnership of the Swedish services company and the digital music service bring over-the-air music downloads to mobiles.
And they are not alone. While Ericsson will sell its music service to wireless providers, as it does with voice mail and text services, other companies are piling on the mobile music train.
Nokia will reportedly partner with Microsoft and Loudeye to bring about a mobile music service. No timeline for that service has been announced yet.
And Motorola has been long rumored to have an iTunes phone in development. Even though that project was announced about a year ago, and was due in March, that phone still hasn’t hit the market yet.
But the second leading maker of handsets claims the iTunes phone will be available this summer. A spokesperson for Motorola said the project “is on track.”
With Yahoo and Rhapsody, and service providers Cingular and Verizon, sitting quietly on the sidelines, one analyst expects those businesses to enter the fray as well.
Albert Lin, an analyst with American Technology Research in San Francisco, thinks Cingular and Verizon also will likely be partners in music-phone ventures. That’s because carriers have a lot of power over a phone’s features.
And, the iTunes phone, which will require a computer to download songs, will not be a desirable partnership for carriers. Wireless providers want to be able to tack a fee on to each over-the-air download, which they could not do if consumers use PCs to acquire music from iTunes and then sync their phones.
Napster likely needs mobile music to take off, as competition from Real’s Rhapsody and Yahoo! Inc’s music services have put a great deal of pressure on what they can charge for music.
And a rumored Microsoft entry into the digital music subscription space, plus the contention that Apple could easily implement a similar service, makes finding new markets a must for the one-time standard-bearer for music trading.
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.