Stakes are now running even higher in the music and entertainment business after Nokia vowed to take on Apple.
At a three-day industry conference in Amsterdam, Nokia's top management laid down the gauntlet, stating the company's objective of becoming the service of choice for socumers looking to organise and get access to their social network and content from both the mobile and PC.
This is according to telecoms, IT and media advisor Analysys - experts from which attended the Nokia conference.
Analysys head of broadband and media, Mike Grant reports back that Nokia outlined two major initiatives to kick start its bid for domination.
First up is the "Comes with Music" service, news of which Pocket-lint has already brought yuou. This sees the phone manufacturer teaming up with Universal Music International to offer unlimited access to Nokia's music catalogue.
The move is sure to rattle Apple, says Grant. "Clearly Nokia expects that users will find free music for a year a compelling alternative to iTunes on the phone."
However, a more significant move is the decision to expand Nokia's Ovi service into the Internet and PC worlds.
At the moment, Ovi provides access to music, social networking, games and GPS services through an on-device WAP portal. But Nokia suggested that customers can soon expect access to Ovi through a web-based portal or through a personalised "dashboard" (for PC users). And again, there are similarities to Apple's current offerings, says Analysys, pointing to the .mac services.
Both ovi.com and the new PC Dashboard are in internal beta as we write.
"These moves are a clear statement that Nokia intends to compete head to head with Apple and others seeking to be consumer’s default personal information and entertainment destination", concludes Grant.
"Previously, only those who bought into Apple’s .mac vision (some would say religion) could indulge in such luxury. Very shortly users will have a choice and that choice will include Nokia Ovi."
He adds that the move will impact the whole industry, starting up a race to compete with Nokia's new offerings.
"Should Nokia successfully execute these developments and attract even a small proportion of the current one billion customers to its service, both operators and other OEMs will have a mountain to climb to offer the same compelling proposition."
At the conference, Nokia also talked of partnering with operators to increase the number of people with access to Ovi, and those it hopes to bring on board include LG and Samsung.
Grant urged customers to keep watching developments, stating: "Successful execution appears to be Nokia's one remaining challenge. We shall watch the company’s progress in 2008 with interest".