HP already had an iPod of sorts

“Back in 1999, researchers at Compaq designed a 30 Gbyte portable music player that weighed 9.5 ounces, could fit in your pocket and had 10 hours of battery life. The Personal Jukebox – aka PJB – went on sale for more than $500, and Compaq received a handy patent for its work.

But the PJB is not all that interesting in and of itself. Plenty of companies were busy working on their own music players at the time. The demand for such devices was pretty clear, as consumers rushed to organize their music on PCs and wanted a way to carry the tunes around. […]

The only explanation for HP’s iPod lust is that it was the easy way out – the road least invented. […]

HP’s decision to pick up Apple product points to nothing less than a failure of the company to capitalize on its own invention. In addition, it shows HP’s unmatched readiness to ignore in-house IP at the very moment a fledgling market looks promising.”

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