Coming over the wires on Christmas Eve was the report that Anssi Vanjoki, the Exec VP at Nokia leading the push on the Finnish Community Portal, Ovi, would be happy for Apple's iTunes store to be represented (reports CNN). "Of course, Apple can get into our portal. We even invite (Apple Inc chief executive) Steve Jobs to do so," he is quoted as saying. It's highly unlikely that Jobs would take up this offer, but in ensuring Nokia's online strategy, including its music store, is mentioned in the same breath as a more powerful competitor (in this case the iPod) is classic marketing strategy for an underdog.
Why would it be turned down? Well the industry is pretty sure that the iTunes Music Store runs for very little actual profit, once all factors are taken into consideration, but it does drive a huge number of sales of iPods, and now iPhones. Various companies have asked for access to ITMS for their devices, all have been rebuffed. I'm sure Nokia's approach will recieve the same response.
But they are definitly to be regarded as a competitor, and an underdog, albeit one with many millions of music store compatible devices already in the marketplace in the N95 and N81 variants.