Microsoft Tunes In Musiwave Acquisition

Microsoft on Monday announced its plan to acquire Musiwave SA, a unit of Openwave Systems, through an exclusivity agreement it has reached with the Paris-based provider of mobile entertainment services.

Through the acquisition, Microsoft hopes to leverage Musiwave’s relationships with digital content providers in the mobile space to enhance its own Connected Entertainment applications, including Windows Mobile and Zune.

Financial terms of the proposed acquisition were not disclosed. Openwave acquired Musiwave in September 2005 for $121 million.

“Musiwave would bring key assets to us as we continue to bring our vision of Connected Entertainment to life,” said J Allard, Microsoft’s corporate vice president in charge of music, in a statement. Musiwave’s established connections with music companies and mobile operators would bring Microsoft closer to its goal of “giving people access to whatever entertainment content they want, whenever and however they want it.”

Microsoft expects the acquisition to improve its standing in the rapidly growing global market for music-enabled mobile devices. Musiwave could provide Microsoft with a further entree into the European market, where most handsets in use today run software developed by Musiwave, according to the statement.

“This contemplated acquisition reflects the Microsoft’s recognition of the software and technology expertise in Europe,” said Pieter Knook, senior vice president of Microsoft’s mobile communications business unit, in a statement.

Musiwave licenses its content through publishing companies and record labels, and secures its content through digital rights management (DRM) solutions, according to its Web site. Musiwave partners with record companies to secure the rich-media content it distributes.

If the acquisition is consummated, Musiwave headquarters would remain in Paris.

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