Nokia is attempting to break into the lucrative digital music download market with the upcoming launch of its own Nokia Music Store. The company, which controls more than a third of the worldwide cell phone market, said it would wrap its new music service, along with a revamped N-Gage online game service into an Internet package under the company’s new Ovi brand.
Ovi will be available in Europe in the fourth quarter of 2007, but there is as yet no timetable for entering the United States. The company has inked deals with the world's four biggest music labels to give users access to more than 2 million songs, each costing 1 euro and available as 192kbps DRM-protected WMA files. Songs will typically take between 30 and 60 seconds to download over 3G, or 10 to 15 seconds over Wi-Fi. In addition, a subscription plan to stream music to a PC will also be available for 10 euro per month.
With millions of people around the globe using a Nokia mobile phone and being able to purchase songs on the go, will the handset provider prove a worthy competitor to the iTunes / iPhone combination? Regardless, the move by big players in the mobile market such as Nokia and others, could prompt Apple to embrace an over-the-air iTunes Store to remain on par with competitors.