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Sprint backs Apple tech for video streaming

Cell carrier certifies QuickTime format for delivering video to handsets.

Apple Computer, making headway for its media player technology in the mobile industry, will help content creators make streaming multimedia available over Sprint's cellular network.

The companies announced on Thursday the certification of Apple's Xserve G5 server and QuickTime software to deliver multimedia content over Sprint's streaming video and audio service, called PCS Vision Multimedia Services. The service starts at $9.99 per month. Content from sources such as CNN, NBC Universal, Fox Sports, The Weather Channel, E Entertainment, mFlix, Twentieth Century Fox, AccuWeather and 1KTV is made available to certain Sprint-supported handsets.

The agreement means that content providers can use Apple's QuickTime technology to encode audio and video for Sprint's media service, which was announced earlier this month.

"We chose to certify Apple because of their focus on simplicity," said Jeff Hallock, Sprint's vice president of product marketing and strategy. "We are interested in continuing media progress and are open to offering flexibility to content providers," by certifying other media technologies.

RealNetworks and Microsoft have similar media player products. After making progress on the desktop, they, along with Apple, are looking to make their players available on cell phones.

RealNetworks has made the deepest inroads, but Apple has been making progress. Apple has also signed a deal with Japan's NTT DoCoMo to support QuickTime.

Apple announced a deal with Motorola in late July to let customers of the iTunes music store transfer songs onto the next generation of MP3-enabled phones from the handset maker.

Apple and RealNetworks have been embroiled in controversy over Apple's digital audio service, iTunes.