The Beats go on at HP (at least until 2015)

Consumers looking to buy an HP machine with integrated Beats Audio have a year and a half before the companies dissolve their partnership.

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CNET/Sarah Tew

Computer maker Hewlett-Packard confirmed Wednesday that it will continue to integrate Beats Audio technology in its high-end PCs through 2015, in spite of Apple's purchase of Beats Electronics.

A company spokesman said in an email that HP is allowed to continue developing products with new Beats Audio technologies through 2014. But it's allowed to continue selling devices with the Beats Audio logo and technology through 2015. HP says it's planning an aggressive lineup of new products that includes the Beats branding through 2014. These products will have the full Beats Audio experience, the company says. Currently, Beats technology is included in about 15 percent to 20 percent of devices sold by HP.

HP's longstanding relationship with the company, famous for making headphones, came into question today when Apple finally announced its plans to buy Beats Music and Beats Electronics for $3 billion. Rumors surrounding the deal made headlines earlier this month. Until now, it was unclear what the fate of HP's relationship with Beats would be going forward if the deal between Apple and Beats was officially announced.

HP directly competes with Apple in the laptop and desktop computer markets. CNET Reviews editor Dan Ackerman speculated in a story published in early May that it would be hard to imagine Apple allowing HP to continue its relationship with Beats. Ackerman noted this could be a major blow for HP, considering the marketing of the Beats technology in its devices has been one of the few unique features offered on its current line of PCs.

Now, it seems the question of what will happen with Beats-branded HP laptops and desktops has been answered. While laptop and PC shoppers will still be able to pick up a Beats-enabled HP laptop or desktop through 2015, after that, the company will have to come up with some other feature to entice consumers to buy its products.

By then, the Beats brand will likely be integrated into Apple's product line.

 

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