MS, Nokia Join on Mobile Digital Music

In what may come as a surprise to some industry watchers, Microsoft and Nokia announced at the 3GSM World Congress Monday that the two companies will team up to ensure mobile music can be played on both Nokia's handsets and a user's home computers.

The collaboration means Windows Media technology will be available on Nokia's next generation of multimedia handsets, reversing a general trend by the Finnish mobile phone maker to distance itself from Microsoft's attempts at breaking into the mobile arena.

"Microsoft and Nokia recognize that interoperability and ease of use are crucial to delivering a seamless consumer experience and enabling digital music to be enjoyed on the move," said Amir Majidimehr, corporate vice president of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft.

"This agreement marks the beginning of a collaborative effort that will greatly enhance the mobile phone as a personal music device, and help realize our vision of digital entertainment anywhere."

Nokia's music store is based on the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) digital rights management and the MPEG Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) standards, which up until this point, could not be played within Windows Media Player. The store allows mobile operators to offer their customers a way to search, listen,and pay for music within a branded application on Nokia mobile phones.

The agreement means that codecs will be made available to support AAC within Microsoft's Windows Media Player itself, which Nokia hopes will make its offering more desirable to the consumer.

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