Feeds

Apple axes 'iRingTones' project

Screw the carriers. OK, we won't

The essential guide to IT transformation

Exclusive Apple has canned a software project that was guaranteed to prove controversial, just weeks ahead of its slated announcement at MacWorld Expo next month.

The project would have seen Apple move into the ringtone retail business in direct confrontation with cellular carriers, with whom Apple already has a stormy relationship.

"iRingTones", as we'll call it, integrated ringtone downloads into the iTunes Music Store, and would have allowed users to remix ringtones before beaming them to the phone via Bluetooth. It was to be a headline feature of iLife '06, the annual upgrade to Apple's digital media consumer suite that receives its annual refresh at the San Francisco show.

Apple has added audio books, podcasts and videos to the iTunes Music Store since it launched in 2003, and is expected to unveil satellite radio integration in the future.

Stateside sources were unable to confirm details of the final product, rumors of which caused alarm amongst cellular carriers. We can't confirm the carriers were directly responsible for bringing pressure to bear on Apple, but what's in no doubt is that ringtone revenues form a significant part of their revenues.

(Text messaging forms the bulk of carriers' data income, but ringtones are a multi-billion dollar industry the success of the hugely irritating 'Crazy Frog' jingle has been credited with reviving Verisign Inc's fortunes).

The relationship between Apple and the carriers has been far from smooth. Apple's iTunes phone the Motorola ROKR was delayed, reports suggested, because of antipathy from the networks. It launched without support for over the air (OTA) downloads. The networks see OTA downloads as a revenue opportunity, with Sprint launching a music download service at $2.50 per song last month.

The carriers also believe phones are good contenders for playing portable digital music, the lukewarm reception to the ROKR (nicknamed CROKR) not withstanding.

The networks also want to use their ubiquitous retail presence on the high street to sell music over a personal area network, but admit the wireless technology hasn't reached critical penetration on today's handsets. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.