January 4, 2006 9:00 PM PST

HP drops iTunes, taps RealNetworks for music

Related Stories

RealNetworks moves Rhapsody to the Web

December 4, 2005

HP to stop selling Apple's iPod

July 29, 2005

HP, Apple harmonize on iPod

January 8, 2004
After several years of distributing Apple Computer's iTunes software with its new PCs, Hewlett-Packard is shifting its allegiances to rival RealNetworks' Rhapsody music service, the companies plan to announce Thursday.

The computer maker's decision to drop Apple has been widely expected, after the company said last summer that it would stop distributing an HP-branded version of the iPod.

special coverage
Apple's new crop
Sink your teeth into all the news from this week's Macworld Expo.

The deal marks a new direction for HP, which had seen its entertainment products overshadowed by the power of Apple's own brand. Rhapsody will now be the default music-playing software on HP's new PCs and laptops, and beginning in spring 2006, HP customers will get a free 30-day trial subscription to RealNetworks' music subscription service.

"HP is committed to bringing consumers the best PC entertainment experience," HP general manager Bob Lund said in a statement. The computer company had wanted to provide "easy access to a leading subscription music experience," he said.

The deal also offers some potential to further RealNetworks' drive to move its music services beyond PCs.

RealNetworks Senior Vice President Dan Sheeran said his company had been particularly attracted to HP after looking at the computer company's plans for home entertainment devices, although the current deal extends only to HP's consumer laptops and PCs.

"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 that will likely be to develop a remote-control function that can be used with versions of Rhapsody running on HP's TV-connected Windows Media Center Edition PCs, Sheeran said.

HP's initial deal with Apple was launched exactly two years ago, at the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Then-Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina made much of the company's decision to distribute its own version of the iPod. But the company ultimately found that its line of music players often lagged behind the Apple-branded devices.

RealNetworks also on Thursday is expected to unveil a separate distribution deal with cable giant Cox Communications, which for the first time will allow the music service's monthly fee to be included on a customer's cable bill. Sheeran said that could make it easier to retain subscribers.

19 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Ugh...
Holy smokes. This really deosn't matter that much for Apple since
most people who care about the music scene already know and use
iTunes, and it obviously being a free download will again find itself
on HP computers - like users of Sony, Dell and the others have
done.

But why put Real on? I guess they had to put on something... but
'UGH' is the only word I can think of.
Posted by NeverFade (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
irony
"HP is committed to bringing consumers the best PC entertainment experience"

Real Player ? Rhapsody ? ooooo the irony.
Posted by (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HP declines in my view
I always have had high regard for the founder(s) of HP. If for business reasons(for software) I need to get IBM compatible machinery, I thought I would get an HP. I like their printers.

They really did not market their own iPod well. Apple started to compete with the big retailers, which seemed like that was HP's sales target, and so, things fell apart.

But, even if that is so, since HP has dropped iTunes, they will have to go a mighty far piece to get one buyer here to even consider their computers now. Bye bye
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Selling PC's for Real
"We explored a range of alternatives to deliver a great digital
music experience and concluded (that) Apple's iPod music player
and iTunes music service were the best by far," Fiorina said in a
statement. "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."

"Rhapsody will now be the default music-playing software on
HP's new PCs and laptops, and beginning in spring 2006, HP
customers will get a free 30-day trial subscription to
RealNetworks' music subscription service. "HP is committed to
bringing consumers the best PC entertainment experience," HP
general manager Bob Lund said in a statement. The computer
company had wanted to provide "easy access to a leading
subscription music experience," he said."

LOL
Posted by Terry Murphy (82 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'd rather have nothing
Wow.

"Here, folks. Have some crappy software that will be hard to delete
off your hard drive, and will cause you problems with all your other
media files. You're welcome." -- The Dolts at HP
Posted by alambique (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
No Problem....
Delete or ignore RealMesia/RealPlayer/RealWhatever

Install iTunes, with a free download. Get QUicktie 7 too for free.

Go for good music at iTunes and from your CD's and other sources,
music you actually own, not a vaporous rental.

Tell HP to stuff their "HP is committed to
bringing consumers the best PC entertainment experience" BS.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sorry for the typos...
"Realmedia', 'QuickTime', and any others.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
vaporous rentals?
You mean like movies from NetFlix? The games I rent from BlockBuster? The BobCat I needed from the local hardware store?
Why are Mac fan-boys so willfully ignorant about this? With any of these music rental programs, I can buy the music, just like iTunes. Except cheaper, and I am not ball-and-chained to the iPod. If I want to own the music, I have all the options available from iTunes.
The $5 a month for the rental means that in addition to everything offered by iTunes, I can shuffle 30 gigs a week of different music (try before you buy) through my Nomad. I find that to be a good deal.
Just because this option is not available to you does not make it a bad idea
Posted by catchall (245 comments )
Link Flag
Oh yeah. That's a MUCH better idea, HP.
Real??! lmfao! They should have ay least went with MS's camp (even
tho dumping iTunes/Pod was a stupid move in the first place). This
is the DUMBEST move since Sony's Rootkit -- which didn't happen
all that long ago -- which means that these companies are
getting... dumb and dumber.
Posted by MacDuff (62 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And I love this footnote
"RealNetworks also on Thursday is expected to unveil a separate
distribution deal with cable giant Cox Communications, which for
the first time will allow the music service's monthly fee to be
included on a customer's cable bill. Sheeran said that could make it
easier to retain subscribers"

Make it easy to retain subscribers, eh? Yup; all the lazy or stupid
ones will miss it in their cable bill. Can you say "act of
desperation"? Watch them try to float the old negative-option trick.
Posted by MacDuff (62 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dealin' with the Devil
Now that Microsith has settled the REAL lawsuit of nearly half a
BILLION dollars & Citizen Gates + Big Baby Glazer are "best
buddies" in their "truce & alliance" to go after Apple/iTunes/iPod,
Surorise, Surprise, Surprise HP, Microsoft & Real team up with Cox
Communications Cable (heavily invested in by Gates, Ballmer &
Allen of MS) for the music subscription service Crapsody...

Coinsidence?
Watch your back Mr. Glazer, the sharks are circling...
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oh please...
All of you Apple worshippers make me sick.

HP's deal with Apple was completely one-sided in Apple's favor, and HP did well to get out of that as soon as possible.
Posted by UnnDunn (55 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why the anger?
It probably was a lousy deal for HP so they were right to get out of it. However it doesn't address HP's core problem that they have a "Printer Corporation Image" and trying to sell sexy consumer electronics devices...

However, as far as I can see Apple succeds by making wildy successful products which customers rave about. (Opposite of M$ where your consumers cuss at you for making product)

That's certainly not a crime... And getting upset at the Apple IPOD fanbase isn't very helpful. After all the IPOD fanbase is "incredibly" large and if they decide to hunt you down it will be like reliving Black Hawk Down the movie...

Why the anger friend?
Posted by UntoldDreams (91 comments )
Link Flag
Race to the bottom?
Some people don't like iTunes, but based on sales figures, most do.
But I don't know anyone that likes Real. In fact, most of the
corporate I.T. managers that I know either discourage the
installation of RealPlayer or ban it outright.

I wonder why HP decided that racing their competitors for last
place was a good thing?
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.