HP has decided to stop shipping HP branded iPod media players.
"We have decided that selling the iPod does not fit within our current digital entertainment strategy," HP consumer technology spokesman Ross Camp told vnunet.com.
He declined to provide further details about the reasons for the contract cancellation.
HP started selling its own branded iPods in August 2004. The devices on average accounted for 5 per cent of overall iPod sales, according to data from Apple.
The models were identical to the ones that Apple sold, expect for the fact that HP offered a 12-month warranty, whereas Apple only offered 90 days. HP often lagged behind Apple in offering the latest models. It took the vendor nearly six months to offer the iPod Photo after Apple first unveiled the product.
As part of the reseller agreement, HP also promised to pre-install Apple's iTunes music player on all the PCs and laptops it sold. The company will keep doing so, Camp said.
The iPod was considered an odd addition to HP's product portfolio that is centred around Microsoft Windows-based consumer products. The company however has developed several products related to the media player.
Its latest Media Center PC for instance features a special slot that allows users to insert the music player directly into the computer. HP also developed special HP tattoos, printable covers that consumers print at home and stick on their iPods. Numerous designs are available for download of the internet.
HP's decision does not affect HP's overall entertainment strategy, stressed Camp, and is not in any way related to the corporate restructuring that the company unveiled two weeks ago.
All warranties on previously sold iPods will be honoured. HP plans to keep selling the music players until its current stock is depleted, which is expected to be around late September.
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