“About the time Mao Zedong was being laid to rest and China was turning into the world’s largest factory, businessmen all over the world were warming themselves with the idea that if they could but sell a single box of matches (figuratively speaking) to every Chinese citizen, the riches of Croesus would be theirs,’ Garry Barker writes for The Age. “The point had not occurred to them that the Chinese made the matches themselves, along with most other things, and that, in any event, 75 per cent of the total Chinese population was not on the gravy train or queueing up for Western matches.”
“This digression is by way of putting into context a deal just done by Steve Jobs and Apple Computer in licensing iTunes to Founder, China’s second-largest computer assembler, which ships about 2 million PCs a year. China is a massive market with rising prosperity among the top 300 million or so of its population, and most of them seem to be avid computer users,” Barker writes. “The Founder deal adds to the Wintel leverage Apple has already gained through its deal with Hewlett-Packard, second-largest PC maker in the world, that now puts iTunes on all HP machines. HP will also sell iPods (in blue HP livery rather than Apple’s white). No word yet on Founder iPods.”
Barker writes, “Rob Schoeben, Apple vice-president handling the deal, said that ‘teaming up with Founder (would) deliver an easy-to-use, seamless music experience to millions of Chinese customers.’ Given that China is the world capital of pirated music and a keen user of KaZaA (not that iTunes is involved with the latter), the arrangement could be causing a bit of froth on the gins and tonics in record company boardrooms.”
“More Founder/HP-type deals seem likely as consumer electronics continues to converge with computing. Apple has just hived off iPod into a separate division under Jon Rubenstein, formerly head of hardware development. Despite protestations, maybe there really is a video iPod (or PDA-Pod or mobile phone-Pod) in the works,” Barker writes.
Full article here.