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    Real replaces Microsoft for SFR’s music service

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    Targets further wins across Europe

    Real Networks has replaced Microsoft Musiwave as the provider of SFR's music download service, and is targeting further wins in Europe.
     
    Microsoft is reported to have told operators that use its subsidiary Musiwave's service that it would no longer provide support for operators, preferring instead to develop Musiwave's service for internal support of Microsoft services, such as Zune.
     
    Andreas Spechtler, MD, EMEA, Real Networks, said that he had heard that Mircrosoft had made that move, but that his company had won the contract with SFR before Microsoft made its strategy known.
     
    Real, which already provides its services to nine Vodafone music stores, as well as mobilkom, has signed a three year agreement with SFR.
     
    Spechtler told Mobile Europe that SFR is one of the most forward thinking operators when it comes to music, making it a good fit for Real. It can also generate cross-platform integration with other media services, or with fixed and online services.
     
    "Operators need an ongoing innovation cycle for their music services, and have to come up with new ideas and features. That forward innovation path is something Real has demonstrated," he said. For instance, SFR is taking advantage of Real's 'Open APIs' to integrated Real's music service with its home broadband service provider.
     
    As for the mobile music market, a fiercely competitive area with the handset vendors all providing their own platforms, as well as the might Apple, Spechtler also said that SFR has proved that mobile operators can compete with other music stores, if they execute their strategy well.
     
    "SFR has had a very clever strategy over the years, positioning itself as a music service provider with intelligent market segmentation and specialists areas, providing areas of differentiation from the rest of the competition," he said. "They have done better than many other operators that have tried to enter the business," he said.
     
    Spechtler added that he thought the music platform market was in for some consolidation as the industry aligns around certain approaches. "There's definitely going to be some consolidation and Real Networks is in there and is not exiting this market," he said.