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Omnifone snares HP bundle deal

PC giant cocks an ear

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Three years on from its debut, streaming music service Omnifone has gained a toe hold on the desktop, thanks to a major PC deal. HP will bundle its MusicStation service pre-installed in 10 European countries on laptops and desktop PCs.

Omnifone has seen Spotify steal much of its thunder, largely because Omnifone has focussed on mobile streaming. There are several advantages however. While both Spotify and MusicStation are closed proprietary DRM-locked systems, Omnifone allows a CD's worth of music to escape each month, DRM-free. Spotify doesn't - when your sub lapses, you lose all access to your music. Nokia by contrast, ties the music to a device with its Comes With Music, but allows you to all you download.

Alongside the UK, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland are earmarked for the scheme.

One problem might be one of perception. A survey a year ago found that two thirds of people quite liked the idea of a music service - but would prefer it came from an ISP, not a consumer hardware vendor.

On top of that, PC buyers have suffered a decade of "crapware" - the imperative when you buy a PC is to spend a morning cleaning it up first. ®

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