Thursday, March 24, 2005

Mobile phone industry blocking iTunes phone??


If this is true, this is really sad. I know the mobile phone industry would just love to keep charging exhorbitant rates for worse-than-midi ringtones to counteract the trend of them becoming commodity carriers for wireless voice, but to go this far -- hindering technology growth and restricting use of their mobile data networks -- is the wrong move. It took the public Internet to launch the explosion of new technology, services, etc. The variety and growth in technology that exists on and over the Internet today would not have occurred if the only game in town was still the AOL or Compuserve network -- just to offer a historical analogy.

Rumor Mill: Who is trying to kill the iTunes phone?

Motorola was supposed to launch the much-hyped iTunes phone yesterday at CeBit. The company, however, cancelled its launch at the last minute reportedly after a secret phone conversation with a carrier or carriers. Supposedly, the carrier(s) in question was not excited by the prospect of a handset that could access iTunes content, but that didn't include them in the revenue share. So, the rumor goes, the carrier in question bascially said they would not carry the iTunes phone, forcing Motorola to pull back on its launch plans. Many claim that carriers are working to block Motorola's iTunes phone outright in favor of their own mobile music services. Some insiders claim that carriers are more interested in owning the mobile music process and that they do not want to have to compete with Apple's iTunes platform for revenue.

Rumor Mill: Is Motorola trying to cover up the iTunes phone story?

Motorola yesterday said that, contrary to rumors, the iTunes phone was delayed not because of carrier worries but because of issues with its partner Apple Computer. At a press conference at CTIA, Motorola's mobile phone head, Ron Garriques, told reporters that the iTunes phone's sudden disappearance last week at CeBit was due to differences in the two companies' approach to marketing. Garriques blamed Apple for trying to launch the handset too soon. He claimed that Motorola delayed the device because it was not ready for the market. Garriques also added that an iTunes phone will make it to market in the second half of the year.

Insiders at CTIA dimissed Garriques' comments, claiming that the rumors that broke at CeBit were likely the true version of the story -- i.e., that carriers killed the iTunes phone because they fear Apple will dominate the mobile music market and because the iTunes phone does not support over-the-air music downloads.

See also Motorola: iTunes phone no-show due to Apple


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