Dell, Napster ink higher-ed deal

University of Washington is first to sign on for service intended to ease pressure of simultaneous digital music downloads.

Tech Industry
Dell and Napster have joined forces to market a specialized hardware-software bundle to colleges and universities interested in offering music downloads.

The package includes a Dell PowerEdge 1855 blade server loaded with Napster's SuperPeer software, which allows schools to locally store music and other content.

The siting of a caching server within the campus network is intended to ease the pressure put on the university's network from simultaneous digital music downloads by hundreds of students, the companies said Wednesday.

The University of Washington has signed on for the service, and will launch its offering this fall using 10 Dell servers. Financial details were not released.

Dell will also sell discounted Napster portable subscriptions, and will offer students special prices on bundles that include the Dell Pocket DJ, the Dell Digital Jukebox 20 and the Dell Digital DJ 30.

Since November 2003, Napster--in its new persona as a champion of legal downloads--has been pushing for deals with universities for an on-campus version of its service. Several schools, including Pennsylvania State University, the University of Rochester, Cornell University, George Washington University and Middlebury College are already offering the service to their students.

Dell and Napster said they will work jointly to get other colleges and university to use the service.

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