Cingular in talks with Apple to offer iTunes on mobile phones
BY OUR TECHNOLOGY EDITOR
24 July, 2005: Cingular Wireless, an SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. venture, currently the No 1 mobile service in the US, is reportedly finalising a deal with Apple Computer Inc. that might result in the launch of a Motorola Inc. cell phone equipped with, for the first time, Apple's iTunes digital music player.
Although both Cingular and Apple have refused to comment on which operators would sell the mobile phone, unofficial sources reveal that Cingular is touted as the official partner of iTunes phone as it has already
successfully sold Motorola's RAZR cellphones with considerable profit for both companies.
According to analysts, this upcoming launch, expected since last summer when Apple and Motorola announced plans to bring the iTunes software to cell phones, has so far been delayed due to concerns about a lack of interest from network operators, who believe that users could bypass the network and transfer music directly from computers.
While Motorola has denied any lack of interest from carriers, several operators have shown interest in widening music services as ringtones have provided a huge boost in sales of cell phones.
Meanwhile, music providers are also seeing this as a significant step in terms of distribution which will have found a potentially huge channel for growth in mobile phones in the next few years if the deal can be finalised.
According to reports, some European operators are already selling music downloads to cell phones on a smaller scale. The iTunes player has already gained and sustained a reputation for being easy to use, with features such as the smart playlist and allowing users on most Mac and Windows operating systems to play and organise digital music, video files and the purchase of digital music.
BY OUR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT