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HP drops iTunes, chooses Rhapsody

updated 10:55 am EST, Thu January 5, 2006

HP abandons iTunes

Hewlett-Packard today is expected to announce that it will to stop distributing HP-branded iPod music players. Rhapsody is now expected to be the default music-playing software on HP's new PCs and laptops. Beginning in the spring of 2006, HP customers will get a free 30-day trial subscription to RealNetworks' Rhapsody, according to a report from CNET. Additionally, RealNetworks may find further opportunity in the new deal to continue its drive into music services beyond PCs. The rocky relationship between Apple and Hewlett-Packard wore thin after Apple's own iPod overshadowed HP's special branded model. [updated]

"HP is committed to bringing consumers the best PC entertainment experience," HP general manager Bob Lund stated. The computer maker wished to provide "easy access to a leading subscription music experience."

Sheeran said RealNetworks was especially attracted to HP after looking at the company's plans for home entertainment devices, despite the fact that the current deal only extends to HP's consumer laptops and PCs, according to the report.

"When we look at HP's consumer product lineup, we get very excited," Sheeran said. "We view that as a great potential opportunity for Rhapsody to flow into other devices."

The first step toward in that direction will probably be to develop a remote-control function that could be used with versions of Rhapsody running on HP's TV-connected Windows Media Center Edition PCs, Sheeran said.

RealNetworks is also expected to announce a separate distribution deal with the Cox Communications cable company, which will allow Rhapsody's monthly fee to be included on a customer's cable bill for the first time. Sheeran noted that the new deal could make retaining subscribers easier.

by MacNN Staff



  1. iChick

    Joined: Dec 1969


    HP steps on it again...


  1. Rincewind

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Real's been busy...

    They are getting HP to bundle, and it seems that Google is also going to be distributing RealPlayer ( ).

    Seems Real's been busy. Too bad they're installed base will still suck even after this.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AC - After Carly!

    This may be another example of what HP folk refer to as BC and AC, that is before and after "Carly", a childish policy of nixing and reversing the decisions of the previous administration if, for no other purpose, than to justify and validate their departure, just like the Whitehouse! Of course, that's not to say that she didn't deserve the HP footprint on her backside!

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What a bunch of morons!

    They're using the same announcement/marketing lines they used for itunes but for this now. I guess the only thing they're good for is copy/paste.

    Why, why WHY is the PC market so DUMB???

  1. benhur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    well. good for Real

    Yes, they're second to Apple and they're forming some monster partnerships because they have too stay afloat, but if competition is a good thing, I'd like to see them succeed over MS.

    I'm also in favor of a subscription model (don't be hating) in ADDITION to a pay per download. They can coexist just fine. At least Realís Rhapsody works with Apple. They just announced a partnership with Cox Cable so Iím anxious to see how well they implement the service.

    Maybe this is the year Apple changes it's mind about it's DRM and opening up the iPod. Yeah, I didn't think so either.

  1. koolkid1976

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Napster should be worried.

  1. macbuddha06

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What are they thinking??

    I just don't get it! When are the corporate big wigs going to realize that NOBODY wants a "subscription" music service?? Ugh! How many focus group reports do they need?? Why don't they just give up on this thing?? No one wants to RENT music, am I right?? Sheesh.

  1. Clive

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Installed base!?

    Doesn't every Mac have RealPlayer installed!?

    Renting music: well, I donít want to rent it, but then I donít want to download it either - CDs work fine for me.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is too rich...

    HP proving, once again, to be nothing but sheep, and as has been pointed out, the only reason for this decision is that it is the opposite of Carly Fiorina's... unfortnately, Carly will be having the last laugh.

    Despite the upbeat press spoutings, this will make nary a difference for Real, and if anything, will negatively impact HP. Of course, watch 'analysts' claim how this is the nail in iTunes' coffin, and how hp and Real are bound to explode with profits (sure sign for the opposite).

    Why, of why is the PC industry so stupid?

    a) be glad. b) well, the incompetent folks had to end up somewhere...

  1. benhur

    Joined: Dec 1969



    no, you're not right macbuddha.

    Besides, since when does Apple listen to focus groups? If Apple did, we wouldn't have most of the cool stuff they come out with.

    I think the only opinion that counts at Apple is Job's anyway. Apple will eventually offer both to be competitive, which is just fine by me. Those who want to purchase can still purchase and those who want to subscribe can subscribe.

    HP's move doesn't make much sense but it's a good one for Real.

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