Microsoft and Nokia Ready to Play Together

Microsoft  and Nokia  announced Monday they are extending their collaboration on digital rights management (DRM) to include support for the software company’s PlayReady technology on the handset maker’s popular S60 and Series 40 mobile phones.

The first devices and services to emerge with support for the new DRM technology are due out next year, the companies said in a joint statement.

Microsoft announced and gave the first full-function demonstrations of PlayReady in February at the 3GSM World Conference 2007 in Barcelona, Spain. Interestingly, the company doesn’t refer to it strictly as a DRM system – instead opting for the term “multimedia content access technology.”

At that time, Microsoft said that Telefónica, O2, Verizon Wireless, Bouygues Telecom, and Cingular Wireless/AT&T have committed to implementing support for PlayReady on their networks.

“PlayReady technology enables a broad spectrum of business models such as subscription, rental, pay-per-view, preview and super-distribution, which can be applied to many digital content types and a wide range of audio and video formats,” Microsoft said in a statement in February.

The deal is not the first for Microsoft and Nokia either, despite the fact that they are fierce competitors in the mobile operating systems business.

In February 2005 – also at a 3GSM World Congress event – Nokia committed to support for several Microsoft technologies on its music-playing handsets. That included Windows Media DRM 10, Windows Media Audio (WMA), and Media Transfer Protocol (MTP), according to a joint statement at the time.

In turn, Microsoft committed to supporting both the Open Mobile Alliance’s (OMA) DRM technology and the MPEG Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) family of codecs  in Windows Media Player via a plug-in.

Besides its DRM capabilities, PlayReady supports audio and video formats including WMA, AAC/AAC+/HE-AAC, and Windows Media Video as well as H.264 video.

Monday’s move “will make it easier for content owners and service providers to offer premium digital content for a radically increased installed base and enable more flexible business models, such as renting content or accessing it offline,” the two companies’ statement said.

The PlayReady technology will enable consumers to manage digital content among online, home and mobile devices.

Earlier this month, Microsoft shipped the PlayReady Client Porting Kit for mobile devices. The company said it expects the first services using PlayReady technology to appear in 2008. PlayReady will be fully backward compatible with Windows Media DRM 10, according to Microsoft.

News Around the Web