“Last summer, Hewlett-Packard Co. found itself in an awkward position for a premier computer company: It hadn’t fielded a single candidate in the fast-growing market of digital music players. HP had gone through numerous music player designs and had built several prototypes to show to focus groups. But people kept saying they preferred the celebrated iPod from Apple Computer Inc. Tom Anderson, HP’s vice president of marketing for consumer PCs, couldn’t say he was surprised,” Terril Yue Jones reports for The Los Angeles Times.
“The self-proclaimed gadget freak had snapped up an iPod soon after Apple introduced the sleek white devices in October 2001, loading it with classical music and tunes from the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. He knew the iPod was the gold standard,” Jones reports. “‘Apple did everything right,’ Anderson said. Everything HP did, he added, ‘looked like a compromise.’
“So HP switched gears. It dropped an industry bombshell at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month when it announced it would sell the iPod under the HP brand name,” Jones reports. “For Apple, a niche player in PCs with little more than 3 percent of the global market, the partnership opens a promising new sales channel for a device that at this point claims 62 percent of the worldwide market for hard-drive-based music players, according to market researcher IDC. Apple says its iTunes Music Store has sold more than 30 million songs, giving it a 70 percent share of the legitimate music-downloading market.”
“Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Jobs in 1976 and knows him well, said there was probably one mental hurdle Jobs had to clear to initiate the partnership with HP–the fear of alienating the Apple faithful, who mistrust companies allied with Microsoft,” Jones reports. “‘Sometimes things are going on in the Windows world that take the world a step backward for the sake of expedient profits,’ Wozniak said. ‘But bringing the expediency of iPods to the Windows world benefits both PC users and Apple.'”
Full article here.