updated 10:30 am EST, Mon November 12, 2007
Microsoft Buys Musiwave
Microsoft today announced its intent to acquire Musiwave, a French firm primarily focused on mobile music services to cellular carriers and to labels. The deal will allow Microsoft to "explore new areas in the mobile space," according to the company, and to bring Musiwave's business connections and technology to Microsoft's more portable hardware and software services, including Windows Live, the Windows Mobile OS for smartphones, and the Zune media player. Neither company announced the proposed financial terms of the deal, which is still awaiting approval but will see Musiwave remain at its Paris headquarters.
The deal points to a possible enhancement of the new Zunes to include direct access to the Zune Marketplace over Wi-Fi through a mobile-optimized version of the player's dedicated online store. Musiwave claims to have at least some of its software on most cellphones in Europe and is currently known best for sharing development efforts with Omnifone in creating the MusicStation online service, which lets cellphone users pay a weekly subscription fee in exchange for unlimited song downloads, similar to the monthly Zune Pass subscription.
The news may also improve Microsoft's development of Windows Mobile, which typically suffers from a lack of the direct-download music services that are more often developed for more limited phones using cross-platform platforms such as Java.
A Microsoft-owned Zune mobile store would represent only the third major online store directly integrated with a handheld, following the Yahoo service for the SanDisk Sansa Connect and Apple's iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store available for the iPhone and iPod touch.