January 9, 2004
Cats and dogs aren't just living together, they're breeding, too. That's right, personal computing rivals Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) are teaming up to produce an HP-branded iPod.
What? That doesn't leave you counting down the days to the apocalypse? Let me try again. New HP computers will come pre-installed with Apple's iTunes software, drawing music fans hungry for legal downloads to Apple's site. Meanwhile, Apple will make consumer products and slap the Hewlett-Packard name on them.
Now do you see the oddity of this peculiar tryst? It could only get more shocking if Dell (Nasdaq: DELL ) showed up cracking a whip and wearing a leather teddy.
Seriously, this is a win-win. Apple has managed to sell two million iPod music players, but only half of those have ventured beyond the Apple-user kingdom. With HP's muscle, that's going to change. While iTunes is already popular, with more than 30 million song files purchased since last year's launch, coming pre-installed on HP systems will be a huge boost.
What's in it for HP? Edge. Think about it: Dell is the people's choice and Gateway (NYSE: GTW ) is trying to make a splash in consumer electronics. HP is that forgotten vanilla swirl juggernaut. Apple is saving the music industry. Now HP is being invited onstage.
They're going to make some beautiful music together.
Do you think that Apple's iTunes will save the music industry, or are illegal downloads here to stay? Who will be the real winner of this high-powered pairing? Apple? HP? Music fans? All this and more -- in the Apple discussion board. Only on Fool.com.