HP, Soundbuzz explore possible tie-up

Hewlett-Packard Far East Pte Ltd is exploring a partnership deal with digital music distributor Soundbuzz Pte Ltd to make the latter's Web site the default Entertainment option on HP's Pavillion keyboards.

SINGAPORE--Hewlett-Packard Far East Pte Ltd is exploring a partnership deal with digital music distributor Soundbuzz Pte Ltd to make the latter's Web site the default Entertainment option on HP's Pavillion keyboards.

If the deal goes through, the keyboards would be rolled out in North and Southeast Asia in the second half of the year, said HP general manager for Consumer Computing and Appliances in Asia Pacific See Chin Teik.

Speaking to reporters today at a press briefing, See declined to reveal whether HP would share revenues with locally-based Soundbuzz.

The latter operates localized Web sites for markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, India and Indonesia.

See added that HP is also in talks with other entertainment Web sites, such as online music and movie distributors, for similar arrangements. He would not name the companies but noted that such partnerships are part of HP's "on-going" strategy to provide "feature-rich" PCs for consumers so as to establish customer loyalty.

At present, the default options for Shopping and Connect on the Pavillion keyboards for distribution here are linked to Singapore Telecommunications Ltd's (SingTel's) Web sites.

The other option buttons on the Pavillion keyboards--Sports, Finance, Search, Chat and Email--are linked to Yahoo's sites.

"As with all partnerships, it is a win-win situation," See claimed, but he declined to reveal the financial arrangements with SingTel and Yahoo.

However, he noted that traffic which originated from an HP keyboard "can be tracked, (thus) the value-add to the partner".

Such deals are not uncommon. Last August, Compaq selected Catcha.com, an online network of localized portals for Southeast Asia, as the default Search option on Compaq's Presario keyboards in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

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