Observers have been asking whether Microsoft latest move to acquire Musiwave is a direct aim at Apple's tightened grip on the online music market.
Microsoft intention to take control of a provider of mobile music entertainment services to operators and media companies has been interpreted by some as an attempt to compete not only with iTunes but also with Nokia's and Vodafone’s recent downloadable music platform.
The acquisition would provide Microsoft with a platform to distribute content to users through Windows Live, Windows Mobile, the Zune platform and MSN.
But this does not mean that there will be a Zune phone anytime soon, as Microsoft pursues the same goal as Google's Open Handset Alliance: Getting the maximum support from third party manufacturers and mobile operators.
According to technology research firm Ovum, 1,106 million mobile music phones will be shipped worldwide in 2010.
Mobile operators are continually looking for ways to deliver digital entertainment to their customers, and have looked to companies such as Musiwave to deliver music services that help provide the necessary infrastructure.
As a provider of white-label music solutions to mobile operators in Europe, Musiwave has helped to bring a rich selection of millions of ringtones, full-track downloads and music videos to consumers.
Musiwave also has a rich history of working with a wide variety of device-makers, across a diverse group of software platforms that produce music and data-capable mobile devices.
Software developed by Musiwave can be found on most handsets available in Europe.