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HP to undercut iPad price, iPad to undercut Amazon e-books prices, Courier to rule them all?

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Today's Apple rumor roundup is brought to you by the word "money." First up is a piece carried by the New York Times citing no less than three people familiar with provisions that would require publishers to discount best seller e-book prices sold on Apple's iPad. In other words, below the $12.99 to $14.99 price dictated by the new agency model -- prices Amazon is being strong-armed into accepting. Apple's prices could be as low as Amazon's previously magical $9.99 price point for some titles just as soon as they hit the New York Times best-seller lists. Discounted hardcover editions could be priced at $12.99 even if they do not hit the best-seller list.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, has a pair of sources saying that HP will be meeting with its US and Taiwanese partners to "tweak prices and features" on its upcoming Slate. The move is meant to capitalize on a recent uptick in tablet interest with hopes of undercutting the $629 price of the similarly spec'd 3G-enabled iPad. Although it was introduced before the iPad, HP deliberatly held back on announcing a ship date or pricing so that it could tweak the Slate accordingly.

Also noteworthy is renewed attention given to Microsoft's Courier. The WSJ says that Microsoft continues work on its two-screen Courier tablet at its Alchemy Ventures incubation laboratory in Seattle. However, it's still unclear whether Microsoft will launch the device.

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