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Apple posts Compaq iTunes as HP music store goes live

Sooner than the Summer

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When HP CEO Carly Fiorina launched the company's digital music service last January, she said the online store and Apple iTunes-derived jukebox software would become available this summer, in the same timeframe that the company will launch its own hard drive-based portable music player.

Summer appears to have come early: HP yesterday posted a web site devoted to the new service, and Apple began offering an HP-specific version of iTunes for downloading.

The 'special' HP/Compaq version of iTunes is version 4.2 of the software, as per the Mac and non-specific Windows versions of the software. The chief difference is believed to be code to allow Apple to track downloads made by HP customers rather than those of its own.

As yet there's no sign on the site of HP's anticipated rebranded iPod, which is "expected to become available this summer", HP said. In the same timeframe, HP will add "a desktop icon guiding users to the music site" to HP Pavilion, Media Center and Compaq Presario desktop and notebook consumer PCs.

With the HP and Apple web sites updated, a formal opening is presumably not far off, and should be accompanied by the plan to bundle iTunes on HP's systems. Hopefully, the 'HPod' won't be far behind.

Next Tuesday, HP is expected to announce a partnership with Starbucks to provide the coffee seller with an in-store music preview, download and burning solution. HP is known to be providing tablet PCs for the service, and it seems likely that it is behind the service's back-end too, possibly through its partnership with Apple. ®

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