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8/24/2009
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Rhapsody Music May Come To iPhone

RealNetworks has submitted its music service for approval in the App Store, but it's unclear if Apple will OK the competing service.

RealNetworks wants to get its Rhapsody subscription music service on the iPhone and iPod Touch, but Apple may not approve the app because it competes with iTunes.

In contrast to iTunes' piecemeal approach to selling music, Rhapsody gives users unlimited access to more than 8 million streaming songs over EDGE, 3G, or Wi-Fi for $15 a month. The free app will have all the functionality of the desktop version, Real said, including setting up queues and searching through the catalog.

"We know not everyone who uses an iPhone is a Rhapsody subscriber, but we think the app will appeal to anyone who has an affinity for music," Real wrote on its blog. "Subscribers can just log in to the app with their existing user name and password and the experience will be seamless."

As the gatekeeper for the popular App Store, Apple has long had a policy of not allowing programs that change the core functionality of the iPhone. This is why companies like Opera Software have not been able to have their mobile browsers on the touchscreen smartphone, and it was also the reason Apple cited for not approving Google Voice.

Real said it is also working on a version of Rhapsody for Android Market, and it may have an easier time getting approved because Google has generally been more open with its mobile store than Apple. Additionally, a startup called Spotify has been generating a lot of buzz with a similar music streaming service, and it is expected to bring its subscription music to the United States, including the major mobile platforms.


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