Genuine concern for the "customer experience" or genuine concern for its music revenue stream? It's hard to gauge Orange's true intentions here, but basically, the European carrier is threatening to avoid carrying the 8GB variant of Nokia's N81
-- the one with the Nokia Music Store
on it instead of Orange's own -- on fears that they haven't seen the service yet and have no idea whether it'll be easy for customers to use. A rather testy memo sent from Orange to Nokia reveals that Orange has given Nokia until August 31 (that's tomorrow!) to offer it the opportunity to test the Music Store side by side with its own service; if Nokia declines, Orange will respond in kind by dropping its planned order for a crapload of "exclusive blue" N81s. Given that the N81 is seen right now as the cornerstone of both Nokia's renewed music and
gaming efforts, we're guessing the manufacturer would see a refusal by a major carrier on its own turf to be a slap in the face and a major blow to its plans -- so we're cautiously optimistic that things are gonna work out. In the meantime, Orange, skim as much music revenue as ya can.