Microsoft DRM to hit Nokia phones

Posted by Mark Raby

Helsinki (Finland) - Nokia announced today that it has formed a partnership with Microsoft to add additional copy protection safeguards to mobile entertainment content.

The two companies hope the new partnership will bring a more secure, streamlined process to downloading and accessing music and video from a mobile phone.

Microsoft's PlayReady DRM technology will come to Nokia's Series 60 phones, its flagship line of smartphones.  With Nokia's dominating market share and the licensing of its operating system to other handsets, the S60 platform is the most widely used mobile OS.

The deal will also include Nokia's lower tier Series 40 phones.  The cell phone giant said it plans to begin shipping handsets with PlayReady technology next year.

PlayReady is a new technology from Microsoft, with backward compatibility supporting Windows Media DRM 10.  Its partnership with Nokia helps Microsoft hedge its own stake in the mobile space with its proprietary Windows Mobile platform, a direct competitor of Nokia's operating system.

The news comes as speculation continues to build for a possible entry from Nokia into the digital music market.  Analysts have been predicting for several months that the handset maker would create its own store as a mobile competitor to Apple's iTunes service.

Research firm Informa suggests that mobile entertainment downloads and services will grow to become a $38 billion industry by 2011.  In 2006, the group estimated that associated revenues totaled around $18.8 billion.