Can HP's Partnership With Omnifone Ever Succeed?

HP announced earlier this morning that it will be offering Omnifone's Musicstation service as a trial offer on millions of its computers in a bid to capture a chunk of the growing online music market. But will they both be successful?

For Omnifone, the mere fact that it has been chosen by HP, apparently over Spotify, to be HP's prefered partner is a major PR coup that will make it known to millions and potentially get the ball rolling for even more lucrative contracts.

But there are a few niggles before it can successfully dislodge Spotify as everyone's favourite service. Firstly, the trial version lasts only 14 days, which is a tad short to fully evaluate the service to its fullest.

Then there's the fact that for some reason, only Europe has been chosen to launch the service, showing that either HP is testing waters before committing itself fully or the labels are playing hard ball over the terms and conditions.

HP currently owns more than a fifth of the world PC market - roughly 50 million every year - which gives Omnifone access to a potentially huge market, although "potentially" is the keyword here.

Ultimately the success of failure of the venture will be determined, not only by the percentage of conversion (from trial to full version), but also by the labels themselves who could try to favour one offer over another.

For HP, it could also mean a significant revenue stream, especially if Omnifone is paying HP, like mobile operators in the case of the iPhone, on a per user per month basis.

Our Comments

The HP/Omnifone partnership will be tested against the likes of Sony Ericsson Playnow (powered by Omnifone itself), Nokia's Comes With Music, BSkyB's Sky Songs, Virgin Media's MusicFish, Apple's iTunes, obviously Spotify and possibly one or two newcomers to the market (RealNetworks, where is Rhapsody?).

Related Links

HP deal strengthens Omnifone's position in digital music battle

(Knowyourmobile)

HP to launch music service in Europe

(Pocketlint)

HP to Distribute Music Service on PCs in Europe

(Guardian)

HP partners on music download service in Europe

(Videogames Republic)

HP, Ominfone partner for European music service

(Afterdawn)