HP to sell its own iPod in deal with Apple

HP plans to release a digital music player later this year based on Apple Computer’s iPod in a partnership between the companies announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

In light blue and silver, the device appeared from a distance to look much like Apple’s own iPod, with similar features and navigation controls.

It was set to go on sale in June, HP’s chairman and chief executive, Carly Fiorina, said.. Further details, such as pricing and financial terms of the deal with Apple, were not released.

HP said the device would be priced competitively with other music players on the market. The 20GB version of Apple’s iPod retails for $US399.

The company will also preinstall Apple’s iTunes jukebox software on its consumer PCs and notebook systems, and add a desktop icon pointing customers to the iTunes online music store, HP said.

“HP is going to bring this award-winning product and service to market on a massive scale,” Fiorina said.

HP had indicated plans to release a digital music player but the partnership with Apple took some by surprise. The company explored a range of options and decided a deal with Apple was the best course, Fiorina said.

The move fitted in with HP’s broader digital entertainment system strategy, she said.

It furthered Apple’s goal of getting iPods and iTunes in the hands of as many people as possible, its chief executive officer, Steve Jobs said.

The iPod, which works with both Macintosh computers and PCs, has been credited with taking digital music players into the mainstream.

More than 2 million have been sold since it was introduced in 2001. The deal should make HP the first company to resell a version of Apple’s product.

HP said that according to its internal research, more than 54 per cent of its current consumer customers download music to their PCs.

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