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HP buys iTunes jailbreaker

Beefing up its mobile OS

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HP has bought one of the more interesting music startups for an undisclosed sum. Melodio's nuTsie software looks up what's in your iTunes library, including the playlists, then matches it against a catalog of music on its own servers, from where the music is then streamed.

It creates recommendations based on machine algorithms - which isn't so interesting. But nuTsie offers a legally acceptable, if expensive (streamers must pay webcast royalty rates), way of migrating a user base away from iTunes.

The software runs on Apple, RIM and some other smartphones.

Free from its exclusive reliance on Windows after all these years, HP is seriously going after the mobile consumer electronics dollars. The company picked up Palm for $1.2bn in April, bringing it with it WebOS, the slickest and most capable competitor to Apple's iOS.

Palm too realised the importance of cracking open the iTunes library - but made a promise that was hard to keep. Palm vowed ongoing two-way sychronisation between its devices and an iTunes library by masquerading as an iPod. This resulted in a tedious cat-and-mouse game with Apple, and users were never sure whether it would work, or for how long.

Blackberry and Nokia, among others, have managed the less ambitious but perfectly acceptable feat of making a (partial or complete) mirror of the iTunes library on their devices. Which works well enough for most people. ®

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