Nokia Internet push slips in music, gaming

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia’s move into Internet operations faced headwinds on Friday, as the cell phone maker postponed the start of its gaming service due to software testing delays, and Warner pulled its songs from Nokia’s music shop.

Nokia Research Center is seen in Helsinki on October 18, 2007. Nokia has delayed opening its gaming service N-gage to December from November due to delays with software testing, a spokesman for the world's top cellphone maker said on Friday.REUTERS/Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva

The gaming service and music shop are among the cornerstones of the world’s top cell phone maker’s big push into mobile Internet services under its new “Ovi” brand.

Nokia unveiled the long-awaited gaming service at a large media event in August, saying then it would be available globally in November.

“N-gage is coming in December. Software testing is taking a bit more time than what we had expected,” Kari Tuutti said. “We are talking about a couple of weeks.”

Nokia opened its first music store in Britain earlier this week, but Warner Music Group Corp is withholding its content from the site, partly over concerns about illegal downloads at Nokia’s file-sharing site Mosh, the Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition.

“We think we have done a lot to ensure that content owners’ rights are not abused,” Tuutti said. “We are hoping to reach agreement with Warner.”

Nokia is the first handset maker to move strongly into the content space with services like Mosh, where more than 6 million people have downloaded audio or video files, programs or documents.

Tuutti said Nokia’s Mosh uses “fingerprint” technology from U.S. firm Audible Magic, which scans and checks the files before they are downloaded to the site. Similar software is used by many other large Internet service providers.

Nokia plans to launch the music store next in Germany, France and Spain.

“There are still more than 2 million titles in the store,” Tuutti said, adding that other major labels -- Universal Music Group, EMI and SonyBMG -- were involved, along with numerous independent labels.