Apple, Motorola iTunes deal not exclusive, debuts Apple’s licensing of FairPlay DRM

“Beginning in the first half of next year, new Motorola mobile phones will be able to fetch songs from Apple Computer’s iTunes Music Store and play stereo-quality music. Using software developed by Apple, consumers will be able to transfer iTunes from their Windows or Macintosh computers via USB or Bluetooth connections,” Elizabeth Corcoran reports for Forbes.

[MacDailyNews Note: The new Motorola cellphones will ship with new Apple software, called iTunes Mobile Music.]

“Jobs [underscored] that Motorola’s phones would not compete with Apple’s iPods. ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a dozen of your favorite songs with you’ on your cell phone, Jobs told the crowd. Apple’s iPods store hundreds of hours of music,” Corcoran reports. “Although iTunes will be the default jukebox on future Motorola phones, the deal is not an exclusive partnership.” Full article here.

The custom version of iTunes jukebox software that will run on Motorola’s handsets “will not initially be able to preview, buy and download songs over the air directly from the iTunes Music Store. Instead, users will have to download tracks on a PC or Mac then transfer them to the phone using a Bluetooth or USB link, but that’s probably the best solution until much higher data throughputs become available over cellular networks,” Tony Smith reports for The Register.

“HP’s own-brand iPod is expected to ship in September, but – barring other deals, of course – Motorola’s handsets will become the first devices not produced by Apple to support the Mac maker’s DRM technology, FairPlay,” Smith reports. “In short, this is a very significant deal that eclipses all of those done by ITMS’ rivals so far, and represents a real a win-win partnership for Apple.” Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Seems that just as Motorola is free to add other music services along with iTunes, Apple is free to pursue deals with other cell phone makers. This partnership marks Apple’s first license of their proprietary Fairplay DRM to another company. “We think Motorola is the ideal partner [with which] to kick this off,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs stated in the press release.

Look for future announcements.

[UPDATED 9:20AM to include quotes from The Register and denote Apple’s Fairplay licensing in the article’s headline and MDN take.]


  1. Ya see, Apple is smart NOT to make a cell phone.

    Competion and price margins are just not that compelling… but to license software, ah that’s the crux… next, I say could be iPhoto to cell phones?.?.?

    The digital hub…


  2. Apple is producing the software which includes Fairplay to Motorola. They are simply porting the ability of the phones to accept downloads from iTunes. (A free upgrade with mobile transfer ability to iTunes will proceed the launch). In the beginning the phones will probably hold less then 100 songs. In a Chicago Tribune article they indicate other phone manufacturers will have the rights to the system eventually. Of course Apple is smart not to “make” a cell phone. Almost all phones sold in the U.S. are attached to various service providers who generally give them away with a 1 or 2 year commitment for service. Apple couldn’t make money selling phones other then through each service provider. Doing this is a better idea. They expand the iTMS store to additional potential customers and add the iTunes jukebox to computers that currently don’t have it… you’ll need it to download to the new cell phones. It also gets people to think about iPods… there’s no competition between the phones and the players really. All this is great but is half a year away. A lot can happen between now and then.

  3. Don’t look for Nokia to get on board anytime soon. They are the major competitor to Motorola (#1 actually, although they’re having problems at the moment). I’m sure Moto is guaranteed not have competition for the foreseeable future. They are going to invest in developing new phones for the system and don’t want competition right off the bat. It’s possible M$ will try to make a deal for their music system/software with Nokia and some of the other manufactuers – Samsung, LG. Sony has their own jukebox so I doubt they’ll be aboard either with Apple or M$. It could be the next battleground for music and Apple is taking the lead.

  4. pkradd
    Actually Nokia will be next. Apple is not going to want to miss Nokia that sells every year 100�s of millions of mobile telephones. Selling music to these telephones is multibillion � business.
    Nokia uses AAC already so it is relatively easy for Apple to add Nokia support. QuickTime is already “Nokia” compatible.
    It is coming and everybody waited that announcement when Steve was in London. My next prediction is that it comes in October at the same time when Apple launches iTMS Europe.

  5. According to the Mac Night Owl Apple IS NOT licensing Fairplay at all. They are working with Motorola so that the phones will accept the special software necessary to play songs. Just as Quicktime is made available to manufacturers of camcorders, it’s simply supplying the software. That’s all.

  6. Do you really think Motorola would have agreed to a deal without some sort of exclusive? No way would they agree unless they got one. A similar deal is with HP. Although they don’t have an exclusive on the hPod you can bet that they won’t have any competition other then Apple for the near future. You’ll note that although Apple said it was non-exclusive, no additional deals with other vendors have been made. You don’t have any particular advantage if your competitor also gets a deal at the same time. Eventually, maybe, but not for quite a while.

  7. Exclusivity is very hard to get, Motorola and HP probably received a lead but not an exclusivity.

    First of all it is not “legally” exclusive to HP because Apple also sells it. Second, for Apple to give Motorola exclusivity on iTunes Mobile edition, that is tantamount to transferring the copyright over to Motorola for that time period, in which time Motorola could sub-license the software, since exclusivity transfers those rights to Motorola. Why would Apple do this?

    This is simply Apple licensing their software to Motorola and since Motorola is the first major licensee, Apple gave them the headlines. Motorola having this feature will compel Nokia and Samsung to follow suit. By 2005 Apple will be licensing software to every major phone manufacturer.

  8. You’re all forgetting something. iTunes is based on QuickTime. Motorola must be putting QuickTime on all their phones.

    Mr Gates, your dreams of digital media domination are officially over.

  9. Let’s hope this agreement opens the way to Motorola actually releasing a decent bluetooth/GSM phone that has compatibility with iSync.

    My v525 is a great little phone, but getting it bluetoothed to the Mac is a tedious chore, with third party software needed for contact management syncing, and no way to sync calendars.

    Not good enough…


  10. What makes you people think Mac Night Owl has it right? They’re a rumor site, right?

    Get a clue. To play ITMS songs, you MUST use Fairplay, or the file is being converted to MP3 just as you would burn a CD.

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