Nokia to Play Ball With Microsoft’s PlayReady

Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone maker, will add support of Microsoft’s latest copyright protection software, PlayReady digital rights management (DRM) technology, to its line of Nokia S60 and Series 40 mobile device platforms beginning in 2008, the two companies announced Monday. The move, according to Nokia, will enable content owners and service providers to deliver nearly any type of digital content in a flexible manner.

“People are increasingly using their mobile devices for enjoying digital content, such as music, games, videos and photos,” said Ilkka Raiskinen, senior vice president of Multimedia Experiences at Nokia. “By adding support for Microsoft PlayReady technology, we are enabling service providers to offer a wide range of content and create truly compelling experiences across mobile devices, personal computers and online services.”

In addition, the companies will also team to expand and simplify consumer scenarios for accessing, experiencing and moving digital content using mobile devices, Nokia and Microsoft said.

Flexible Security

Unveiled in February at the 3GSM World Congress 2007, PlayReady technology is a multimedia content access technology optimized to meet the needs of mobile operators and handset manufacturers for digital entertainment and commerce, Microsoft said. The DRM software is applicable to a broad range of business models, such as subscription, rental, pay-per-view, preview and super-distribution and can be used with many types of digital content and a wide spectrum of audio and video formats. PlayReady supports an array of content, including music, games, video, ringtones and images.

What sets the technology apart from its closest technologies like as Windows Media DRM 10 is that PlayReady allows content owners and service providers to offer premium digital content for a much larger installed base and enables more flexible business models, including renting content or accessing it offline. Consumers will see the difference, for example, with new functionality that would allow them to purchase content directly from their Nokia handset and transfer it to other designated devices, such as PCs or mobile devices.

No DRM Is Good DRM

Greater flexibility is all well and good, Yankee Group analyst Andrew Jaquith told TechNewsWorld, but in this instance, Nokia and Microsoft are not in step with the desire of consumers to do away completely with DRM technologies.

“Yankee Group’s position on DRM is clear: it confuses and annoys consumers, and does nothing to deter hard-core pirates,” Jaquith stated.

“PlayReady might be the greatest thing in the world, but the world doesn’t need it. Consumers want to see interoperable standards, and the standards they want to see don’t have DRM in them,” he concluded.

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