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Nokia leads bid to control mobile DRM standards

The race against Microsoft

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Nokia, Intel, Samsung and Matsushita have formed a non-profit group called the Content Management License Administrator to license and oversee digital rights management (DRM) technology on mobile devices. The companies will adopt new specifications from the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), which are optimized for multimedia content, and aim to establish these as a de facto standard.

The ostensible aim is to encourage more content providers to make their products available for cellphones, thus driving sales of high end, multimedia handsets.

But Intel and Nokia, in particular, are also following a now common pattern of behavior, seizing control of critical areas of technology by putting themselves in a position to drive the standards process. Nokia has been widely accused of using the OMA as an apparently open smokescreen for its own ambitions to dominate the direction of the mobile sector.

Nokia clearly has another agenda too – to sideline Microsoft’s own DRM software, which it supports for its Windows Mobile cellphone operating system (even though it, too, is a member of OMA). The OMA has released the DRM 2.0 Enabler Release, which allows content producers to protect premium content with enhanced security for audio and video streaming and for content shared over multiple devices.

Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Siemens all use the earlier version of the OMA DRM software in their high end handsets, while Ericsson and Openwave have created servers that support it. However, other DRM technologies from Sony, Microsoft, IBM, RealNetworks and Apple are also vying for the mobile sector.

© Copyright 2004 Wireless Watch

Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.

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