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INQ & 3 Network Owner Buys Stake In Spotify

Li Ka-Shing, Asia's richest man and arguably the most powerful person in the Asian telecom market, has confirmed that it has invested in online streaming music service, Spotify.

According to Forbes business magazine (opens in new tab), Li Ka-Shing, who is worth around $15 billion, is rumoured to have invested up to $50 million to take a minority stake in the service as Spotify seeks to expand worldwide and offer more premium services.

Previously, Li has invested $120 million in Facebook and had entered with Skype through one of his numerous ventures, TOM Online, to help the internet telephony company enter China.

Li Ka-shing also owns Hutchinson Whampoa which operates mobile phone network Three as well as INQ, the mobile manufacturer.

INQ has already released a number of highly focused phones; it has launched a pair of Twitter phones, a Facebook phone and a Skypephone that has proved so popular a third version is already on the way.

A direct consequence of the Li Ka-shing is that the CEO of INQ, Frank Meehan, has been appointed to sit on Spotify's board, so it looks as if a dedicated Spotify phone (or at least 3 Network with integrated Spotify features) is a certainty.

Apple has been overtly protective of its iTunes service and is likely to refuse the app that Spotify submitted a few weeks earlier for inclusion in the App store. And two weeks ago, NMA did report about talks being held between 3 Network and Spotify to get the latter's services on the former's smartphones.

Spotify will also be facing rival schemes like Nokia's Comes With Music. It is also interesting to note that Spotify has sold 17.3 percent of the company to the four major music labels as well as the Merlin independent label consortium.

Our Comments

What do we do on our phones. Listen to music (Spotify), update our social presence (Facebook and Twitter), make phone calls (that's Skype) and send a few texts or emails. Video will probably remain a niche for some time because of the strain it places on network infrastructures. So there you have it, 3 could well integrate those ingredients on one phone.

Related Links

INQ chairman to sit on Spotify board (opens in new tab)

(Pocket-Lint)

Li Ka-Shing confirms Spotify stake, will tie up with 3, INQ (opens in new tab)

(Guardian)

INQ Spotify phone prepped? (opens in new tab)

(Mirror)

Billionaire Li Ka-shing Buys Stake in Spotify Music Service (opens in new tab)

(DMWmedia)

Spotify, INQ and 3 team up – is the Spotify mobile on the way? (opens in new tab)

(Stuff)

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.