updated 10:20 am EDT, Thu June 18, 2009
Nokia CWM MP3 by 2010
A rumor early on Thursday suggests that Nokia could remove copy protection from all its music services within the next year. Claimed sources for ME say the smartphone maker will switch its pay-per-download store from locking songs with Windows Media protection to unguarded MP3s by late this year. Tellingly, Comes With Music would also reportedly make the switch and would do so sometime in 2010, giving users a year of unlimited downloads they could move to any device, including iPhones and iPods.
The motivation is believed to center on an original Nokia preference for a relatively open, widespread format that was initially denied by Universal and other music labels. Both its per-track store and Comes With Music use protected Windows Media files that limit where the songs can be played and discourage users from entering into Nokia's ecosystem as a result.
Nokia has routinely tried to explain poor uptake of Comes With Music in key areas like the UK and believes devices and distribution are the key factors. However, in its own recent studies it notes that 40 percent of those who bought one of the special phones needed for Comes With Music never activated the feature, suggesting that many either don't know how to use Comes With Music or else decide they're uninterested shortly after buying a given handset.