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HP to drop iTunes in PCs in 2006?

Likely to embrace Windows Media technology

HP is preparing to re-engage in the digital music market, following the termination of its exclusive deal with Apple to distribute HP-branded iPods.

HP executive vice-president Todd Bradley confirmed the plans last week, during which he also revealed that the company would honour its contractual obligation to install iTunes on PCs shipped by HP until January 2006. Beyond that, the future of even vestiges of the HP/Apple deal are shady.

Bradley stressed his belief that an opportunity remains in the digital music market, but gave little away. "It's going to boil down to who can create a solution that lets you get the music you want, when you want it, and where you want it," he said.

When the Apple/HP digital music deal was revealed, CEO Carly Fiorina said: "By partnering with Apple, we have the opportunity to add value by integrating the world's best digital music offering into HP's larger digital entertainment system strategy."

Apple CEO Steve Jobs was equally eloquent. "As the industry balkanises by offering digital music wrapped in a multitude of incompatible proprietary technologies, consumers will be reassured by getting the same unparalleled digital music products from both HP and Apple, two leaders in the digital music era," he said.

It's likely that HP will now choose to deliver products based on Microsoft's Windows Media technology.

This story first appeared on Macworld.co.uk.


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