SanDisk buy MusicGremlin, putting WiFi downloads in Sansa PMPs

SanDisk are looking to take on Microsoft's WiFi enabled Zune and Apple's mobile iTunes store, with the company today revealing that they have bought out MusicGremlin.  Described as a "digital content distribution" specialist, MusicGremlin were responsible for the short-lived MG-1000 PMP, the claim to fame of which was its ability to download tracks on a subscription basis while mobile, together with wirelessly sharing those with other subscribers of the company's "MusicGremlin Direct" store.  Initial reviews were positive, but the PMP's lack of brand cachet and small user group (which meant building momentum for track swapping was difficult), together with the increasing dominance of iTunes on the digital music market, saw it disappear.

Disappear, yes, but not without trace.  MusicGremlin apparently continued to develop and support its service, licencing it to others.  SanDisk's acquisition will see MusicGremlin wireless download and sharing functionality included in upcoming Sansa PMPs.

Robert Khedouri, co-CEO and co-founder of MusicGremlin, will join the SanDisk Sansa team as vice president of services; neither company has disclosed the terms of the deal.  Normally, one of the biggest struggles for a new download service is getting dubious record companies on-board, but MusicGremlin claim to have deals with all the major labels and thousands of independents.  SanDisk has tried a similar idea before, with the Sansa WiFi DAP, but it too was sidelined by the iPod.

Press Release:

SanDisk Acquires MusicGremlin

MILPITAS, Calif., June 10, 2008– SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK), a leading seller of MP3 players in the United States, today announced it has acquired MusicGremlin, a privately-held technology company that develops advanced digital content distribution technologies. The acquisition falls under SanDisk's Sansa™ audio/video business unit.

"MusicGremlin's digital distribution platform and capabilities will provide SanDisk with adaptive and innovative technology that will play a key role in the development of future Sansa products for consumers," said Daniel Schreiber, general manager and senior vice president for SanDisk's Sansa audio/video business unit.

Robert Khedouri, co-CEO and co-founder of MusicGremlin, will join the Sansa team as vice president of services.

"SanDisk and MusicGremlin share a core passion for granting consumers easy access to digital content," said Khedouri. "We're very pleased that MusicGremlin technologies will soon contribute to a new generation of Sansa products and services. We look forward to joining SanDisk in realizing our vision for the future of distributed media."

Terms of the deal are undisclosed.