Motorola: Microsoft DRM will boost mobile music

3GSM: Microsoft has been busy at 3GSM, revealing a DRM deal with Motorola and the purchase of a French search firm

Mobile handset manufacturer Motorola has announced that it is integrating Microsoft's digital rights management (DRM) technology into a number of its handsets.

Announced on Monday, the first day of the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, the deal will see Motorola add support for Windows DRM, Windows Media Audio, Windows Media Audio Professional, and Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) to a range of its handsets.

The companies claim that when the Motorola handsets are released later this year, customers will be able to connect to Windows-based PCs via USB 2.0 and automatically synchronise the music on their computer with their phone using MTP.

"Our relationship with Microsoft is about making the mobile world seamless with the desktop world and allowing consumers to experience music wherever and whenever they want," said Richard Chin, Motorola's corporate vice-president of global product marketing.

Motorola has been using Microsoft technologies on its some of its handsets since 2005 and plans to offer Windows Media-enabled handsets worldwide in the second half of 2006.

The development of applications such as Windows DRM, which restrict what a user can do with their digital content, have encouraged media companies to offer material in a digital format. However, some experts claim that DRM is seriously flawed.

Suw Charman, executive director of the Open Rights Group, told MPs earlier this month that: "DRM can't distinguish between lawful and unlawful behaviour, and it contains all the information needed to crack it. It just takes one person to crack a DRM technology and it is obsolete."

At 3GSM, which is the mobile industry's biggest event and is expected to attract 40,000 attendees, Microsoft also announced that it has acquired mobile search specialist MotionBridge.

Based in Paris, the company of around 50 employees specialises in search technology for mobile operators. This includes providing customers with customised results and deep links to downloadable content from multiple sites.

"The technology provides a fantastic set of scenarios. If you do search for U2, then if your device can support polyphonic ringtones then you will see polyphonic ringtones but if it doesn't then you won't see those," said Brian Arbogast, corporate vice-president of MSN.

Microsoft was keen to point out that the MotionBridge acquisition compliments its own MSN search technology but would not be drawn on how much it had paid for the French firm, which was privately held.

Microsoft also promised it will continue to support MotionBridge's current operator partners such as Orange, Sprint and O2.