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Apple & Motorola Bring iTunes To Cell Phones (UPDATED)

TMO Reports - Apple & Motorola Bring iTunes To Cell Phones (UPDATED)

by , 11:00 PM EDT, July 26th, 2004

[Update: This article was updated from TMO's original report at 2:15 AM]

Apple announced late on Monday a new partnership with Motorola that will allow Mac and Windows users to transfer songs from iTunes to Motorola's next generation "always with you" mobile handset phones. As part of the deal, Apple will create a mobile version of iTunes that runs on Motorola's cell phones, allowing users to transfer and play songs from one's iTunes catalog, including downloads from the iTunes Music Store (iTMS).

Motorola told the Wall Street Journal that the new phones would be available in the first half of 2005, and that they would store between a half-dozen and a dozen songs. Transfer of the songs will be available through USB or Bluetooth, depending on the phone. Pricing for the phones has not been announced.

Not mentioned in the joint press release is the fact that the deal effectively places QuickTime on those same phones, giving Apple a stronger position in the ongoing platform war with Microsoft's Windows Media platform. Apple developed a more advanced version of QuickTime for cell phone networks in December of 2003.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Motorola sold some 24 million mobile phones last quarter, greatly increasing Apple's reach for both iTunes and QuickTime. "We're bringing the iTunes music player to millions" of potential users, Ed Zander, chairman and CEO of Motorola told the Journal.

Today's announcement was made during a Motorola event in Chicago held Monday evening, the day before Motorola's annual analyst meeting. Both Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Motorola's Mr. Zander put in an appearance for the announcement, with Apple's CEO appearing by video conference. By way of introducing Mr. Jobs, Mr. Zander showed an iPod and a Motorola phone, and said "It would be great if we could just figure out a way to bring these two devices together."

For his part, Steve Jobs said, "Wouldn't it be great if you could take a dozen of your favorite songs with you on your phone. We thought it would be great if together Motorola and Apple could give [consumers] a small taste of what this digital music revolution is about."

Also attending the event was Apple VP Eddy Cue, who called in sick for his keynote address at the Jupiter Plug.IN Conference & Expo earlier on Monday. MacCentral reports that Mr. Cue described the deal as being a way for Apple to promote the iPod.

"This isn't meant to be a replacement for the iPod," Mr. Cue told MacCentral in Chicago. "This partnership is a complement to the iPod and iPod mini."

This sentiment was also stressed by Apple CEO, who told the Wall Street Journal that he thinks the deal will "whet people's appetites for iPods."

Monday's announcement occurred on the same day that RealNetworks announced new software that would allow its customers to play their downloads from Real's online music store on Apple's iPod. At the same time, rumors are heating up once again that Microsoft will be making a more serious foray into the online music business.

Apple's deal with Motorola significantly broadens Apple's reach with iTunes in the face of this new competition, and marks the first time Apple has licensed out its iTunes software and the FairPlay codec that governs iTunes Music Store downloads. Apple has also licensed the protocol that allows iTunes to stream music, the Digital Audio Access Protocol, to a company called Roku. That license is being used in Roku's SoundBridge product line that gives iTunes users a standalone iTunes controller for use with a stereo.

In January, Apple also announced a licensing deal with HP that allows that company to sell an HP-branded version of the iPod. That unit is expected to be available this September.

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