War report: iPhone + iTunes v. Blackberry + Puretracks

Remember we pointed out RIM’s need to make moves to combat the threat of iPhone? Now the company has hitched up with Puretracks to offer a music service to Blackberry users. The new deal means the Blackberry now offers some of the entertainment-friendly features of the iPhone, but the move may be too little, too late.

Sure, a move to offer Puretracks support is nice, and yes, it does mean RIM is actively preparing its flood defenses to stem the imminent iPhone wave on its business in the enterprise market, but Puretracks lacks the hype, catalogue and accustomed user base of the Apple service. In essence this is just another move by the majors to reduce Apple’s grip on online music distribution. Ensuring healthy competition in the digital music market makes sense in some ways, but we all know the majors want to foster such competition solely in order that they can force higher prices on online music sales. That’s what all the major label disputes with Apple seem to come down to, at any rate.

Puretracks is partnered with all the major labels, but the Canadian-based service hasn’t announced track pricing yet, is available only in the US, and The music store will be available on the BlackBerry Pearl, the BlackBerry Curve and the 8800 series, which already have music players inside. The service launches on April 1 (no joke), hopes to reach other markets in future, and the partners hope in future to offer support for WiFi capable handsets. One thing is immediately clear. Apple has a fight on its hands as it tries to seize a chunk of the enterprise market with iPhone.

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