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RealNetworks bags Sony NetServices

Musical convergence

RealNetworks, the firm behind the Real media player and Rhapsody download site, made a significant move yesterday when it bought Sony NetServices, the Japanese giant's European mobile music outfit.

The deal only ran to $9m cash, but is a statement of intent from Real. Sony NetServices' frontline application is StreamMan, a single platform for delivering music over streams and downloads to mobile devices and PCs. It was a joint venture between between Sony DADC and Sony Europe.

It'll be going up against a similarly convergent mobile/PC music service from Omnifone, which launched earlier this year.

Real has lacked a strong presence in Europe, according to Ovum wireless multimedia analyst Michele Mackenzie, who said: "The acquisition allows RealNetworks to build on its B2B strategy of providing managed and hosted services to operators."

Real will take on Sony Netservices' biggest B2B deal to provide Vodafone Europe with music services. Last year Real bought South Korean mobile music services and ringtone provider WiderThan.

Sony Netservices should add about $7m to Real's revenues for the rest of 2007, the firm said. ®

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