We could never quite tell what was in it for HP in their Apple partnership that allowed them to sell HP brand iPods in exchange for pre-loading iTunes on their shipping PCs. Obviously the branded iPod thing didn't work out too well, since they discontinued that this year, but now that their agreement is coming to an end with Apple, it looks like they're ditching iTunes and getting Real. They've just announced that this spring they'll start shipping RealNetworks' Rhapsody as the default music player on all new PCs, along with a 30-day trial subscription to the music service. Rhapsody has one of the better subscription services, so it's not a total loss, but it's pretty clear these partnerships usually aren't actually about "consumer convenience," so let's not kid ourselves here.

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HP swaps in Rhapsody for iTunes as default audio player