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Originally published June 23, 2010 at 6:16 PM | Page modified June 23, 2010 at 7:17 PM

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Brier Dudley

Hewlett-Packard snags Melodeo for much more than a song

Hewlett-Packard confirmed Wednesday it has bought Melodeo, a 7-year-old Seattle media company that streams customers' music collections to various devices.

Seattle Times staff columnist

Hewlett-Packard confirmed Wednesday it has bought Melodeo, a 7-year-old Seattle media company that streams customers' music collections to various devices.

HP isn't disclosing the purchase price, but Melodeo's investors had put more than $19 million into the company. That includes $7.9 million from Voyager Capital and Ignition Patners in 2007 to fund Melodeo's nuTsie streaming service.

The TechCrunch blog said an anonymous source valued the deal at $30 million to $35 million.

Melodeo Vice President Dave Dederer and HP spokeswoman Mylene Mangalindan confirmed the sale Wednesday afternoon.

Melodeo was started by founders of Tegic Communications, creator of the T9 predictive-text system for mobile phones. AOL bought Tegic in 1999 for $350 million in stock.

Mangalindan's statement said HP is "excited about the potential of this technology to bring the power of cloud-based delivery services to millions of customers."

"Melodeo is one of the only companies with technology to aggregate a consumer's digital media, manage it in the cloud and stream it to the user on any device, along with additional streams of content. HP is always on the lookout for interesting innovative technology, especially as it develops its cloud-based offerings," she said via e-mail.

It's an interesting move.

HP has already built a great application for streaming consumers' digital media to mobile devices, called iStream, but it's based on Windows Home Server and connects to Apple iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices.

Maybe it wants a purely HP stack of consumer software, based on the WebOS it received through its acquisition of Palm. I wonder if it considered Rhapsody.

Although HP's deal has been characterized as a showdown with Apple's iTunes, it also seems like more evidence of HP's frayed relationship with Microsoft, which has its own cloud music service in Zune.

Mobile battleground

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You've got to love the spat between Apple and Google. Especially if you're shopping for a new phone.

Wednesday, the day before Apple launched its iPhone 4, Google, Verizon and Motorola announced their cutting-edge smartphone — the Droid X — with a noisy media event in New York.

Apple's phone is more svelte, has a new high-resolution display, dual cameras and more available apps.

(The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg loved his early iPhone review unit: "It has some downsides and limitations. ... But, overall, Apple has delivered a big, well-designed update that, in my view, keeps it in the lead in the smartphone wars." The New York Times' David Pogue thinks his is "beautiful, and since there's no more plastic, it feels solid and Lexus-like.")

The Droid X has a better camera, a bigger screen and supports Adobe's Flash platform.

Both of the Droid and iPhone add tethering — so you can use the phones as wireless modems for your computer — but it costs an extra $20 per month.

They both have 1 gigahertz processors, start at $199 and require data plans.

Most people won't be able to get either one for a month or so.

Apple doesn't have a lot of iPhone 4's ready to sell. It will have a limited supply at its stores starting Thursday, and AT&T stores will have some June 29. Both companies are pointing customers to the Web, where they can order iPhone 4s to be shipped by July 14

Verizon is going to start selling the Droid X on July 15.

Windows all around

Factoid of the day: Microsoft is selling seven copies of Windows 7 every second.

That came in a Windows team blog post announcing Microsoft has sold 150 million Windows 7 licenses since the software launched last fall, maintaining its position as the fastest-selling operating system in history.

On another cloud

A group of engineers who helped create Amazon.com's Elastic Compute Cloud service announced plans Wednesday to build a new cloud operating system that could compete with offerings from Microsoft and IBM.

Their company, Nimbula, is based in Menlo Park, Calif. It has 17 employees and $5.75 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and VMWare.

Chris Pinkham, co-founder and chief executive, said Nimbula doesn't compete with his former employer and will actually be "an onramp for EC2."

"We don't think this is directly competitive," he said. "We think this is complementary."

Nimbula is developing software that runs within a company's network and directs where applications are run — in-house or on various cloud services — based on policies created by administrators.

The software is being tested by a set of unidentified companies in the finance, technology and health-care fields. A beta version launches next quarter and it will be generally available in Q4.

Pinkham was vice president of Amazon's global infrastructure before managing development of EC2. To be closer to family, he left Seattle in 2005 for his native Cape Town, South Africa, where he set up an Amazon engineering office.

He left Amazon in 2006, shortly before EC2 launched, then started Nimbula in 2009.

Co-founder Willem van Biljon worked on EC2 product management and marketing. Nimbula's sales vice president, Martin Buhr, did EC2 business development and sales, and before that worked at Microsoft.

Brier Dudley: 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com.

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About Brier Dudley

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.
bdudley@seattletimes.com | 206-515-5687

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