Nokia's iPod-killer phone slips to 2006

Finns blame Microsoft DRM

Nokia only began to partner with Microsoft earlier this year - but already it's showing signs of catching Longhorn Syndrome.

The Finnish phone giant has confirmed that its would-be iPod killer, the N91 music phone, will miss the Christmas shopping season, and won't now ship until Q1 2006.

"What we basically decided is that we will postpone it a few weeks, push it out to Q1 and do this Microsoft DRM implementation solidly," explained Nokia's music chief Jonas Geust this week.

Nokia wants N91 owners to get their music using the same interface whether it's from a PC, directly over the air via 3G or GPRS, or from each other over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Geust also insisted that the carriers were showing a strong interest in the N91. Motorola's long-awaited iTunes phone, the ROKR, finally arrived last week on Cingular's network, but without the ability to buy music over the air. Carriers have reportedly been reluctant to allow Apple to replicate it's dominant position in the PC download space on mobile devices. They want some of that action themselves.

Nokia has announced two significant partnerships with Microsoft this year. At 3GSM in Cannes, the two announced a deal to bring music supporting Microsoft Windows Media DRM to Nokia handsets without any need for transcoding. And earlier this week, the Nokia launched a corporate mobile email infrastructure with support for Exchange Server licensed from Microsoft.

Read our hands-on with the N91 here

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