Deal sets stage for mobile version of Rhapsody.

RealNetworks has acquired mobile content technology firm WiderThan for $350 million, setting the stage for a mobile version of the Rhapsody music subscription service.

WiderThan provides solutions to a number of companies including the backend technology for Verizon Wireless's VCast mobile music download service; powering ringback tones offering via Verizon and T-Mobile; and providing similar mobile content services to SK Telekom and other international operators.

According to RealNetworks, the idea of a mobile version of Rhapsody is a "very compelling proposition" and one likely to be explored in the future, but the early motivation behind the acquisition is simply to expand Real's technology services offerings into mobile, which also includes games and video-on-demand.

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