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Compaq tunes into MP3

Digital music players comin' atchya, raps Capellas

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Compaq will hop onto the MP3 bandwagon later this year courtesy of CEO Michael "Groovin'" Capellas' pet project: the Big Q's consumer division.

"We're coming out with MP3 players. The Internet will [demand] different types of devices to service different purposes," he told a gathering at Santa Clara, California's Churchill Club (whatever that is), according to CNet.

That means kit like digital music players and Net access set-tops - both products Compaq's consumer division has been working on since its formation in July 1999, not long after Capellas joined the company.

"It is time to take these beige boxes and transform them into interesting access devices," he added.

It's also time to take a stand against the controversial MP3 sharing software, Napster, said Capellas: "It will ultimately be destructive if we don't take a stand." The Big Q Capo's concern here is the ease with which Napster can be used to distribute unauthorised copies of music and other intellectual property, as demonstrated by the open source Napster knock-off Gnutella, which he didn't appear to mention. Perhaps he hasn't heard of it.

Capellas didn't go into much detail about either the MP3 player or Compaq's set-top box, so it will be interesting to see when - and if - the company does indeed make a foray into the consumer electronics space. Comdex launch in time for Christmas, anyone?

After the speech, Churchill Club members boogied away the night in single-minded pursuit of the grove. ®

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