By BRUCE MEYERSON AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- The first edition of a new music service from Verizon Wireless hampers a cell phone's ability to play MP3 songs acquired elsewhere, a handicap the company says is purely temporary and unrelated to larger battles over digital copyright restrictions.
The new V Cast Music store does, however, weigh in definitively on one side of the music download industry by employing the newest version of the Windows Media Player from Microsoft Corp., which doesn't work with Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh operating system or iTunes software.
Verizon Wireless spoke out Monday after criticisms began appearing on Web logs including PCS Intel and Techdirt regarding the new service, which the company launched last week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Customers wanting V Cast Music who already own one of the two compatible handsets need to visit one of the company's retail locations for a software upgrade.
The two phones, one from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and one from LG Electronics Inc., come with slots for removable storage disks and an application to play MP3 digital songs on those disks.
The V Cast upgrade disables that capability for now, though users still can convert music copied from CDs and other non-digitally protected MP3 files into a Windows Media format and then transfer them to the phone with a USB cable.