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Motorola acquires digital music site

update Handset manufacturer acquires Singapore's digital music distributor Soundbuzz, but gives no details on how much the deal involves.
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Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor on

update SINGAPORE--Motorola has announced plans to acquire digital music distributor Soundbuzz, in a move to expand its content provision across the region.

In a press briefing held Monday, Motorola executives said the company signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Singapore-based digital music provider, adding that the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008.

Soundbuzz's music library of songs and ringtones is currently available through its Web site and via partnerships with local operators.

The acquisition will allow Motorola to tap on "one of the most extensive" music databases in the Asia-Pacific region, and provide digital music to users of its handsets across the region, according to the company.

Motorola executives declined to provide details on how much the deal entails. Soundbuzz is a privately-held company.

Motorola plans to offer this service to users in India, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

The handset manufacturer currently has a digital music library service available to customers in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, dubbed "MOTOMUSIC".

Ian Chapman-Banks, Motorola's vice-president of marketing for Asia-Pacific mobile devices, said at the briefing that the company's MOTOMUSIC service has proven popular with customers, and hoped the Soundbuzz acquisition would be received equally well.

To provide a complete experience for mobile users, there needs to be "lots of content" and partnerships with operators, Chapman-Banks said. He added that Motorola expects to leverage Soundbuzz's existing tie-ups with mobile operators in the region to deliver music services to its customers.

Soundbuzz CEO Sudhanshu Sarronwala said: "More money is spent on digital music in Asia than on physical records." This demand for digital music, he added, is driving the market for digital content providers.

Soundbuzz currently has agreements with operators such as SingTel and MobileOne (M1) in Singapore, Optus and Telstra in Australia, and Hutchison Whampoa's 3 Group in Hong Kong.

The company has had a historical relationship with Creative Technology, but Soundbuzz executives did not respond to queries on how Motorola's acquisition would impact the association.

Motorola recently lost its seat to Samsung as the world's second largest handheld manufacturer, moving down a notch to third position. The top spot is held by Finnish company Nokia.

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