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How Steve Jobs totally tricked Carly Fiorina

Las Vegas Hosts 2004 International CESLas Vegas Hosts 2004 International CES
Carly Fiorina holds up an iPod as she delivers a keynote address at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) January 8, 2004 in Las Vegas.Photograph by Justin Sullivan — Getty Images

Carly Fiorina likes to boast about her friendship with the late Apple founder Steve Jobs. But it turns out she may have gotten taken advantage of by the company’s leader.

In an article on Medium’s Backchannel, editor-in-chief Steven Levy recounts the story of the ill-fated iPod+HP — a co-branded iPod sold through HP’s retail channels.

Per an Apple source talking to Levy:

This was a highly strategic move to block HP/Compaq from installing Windows Media Store on their PCs. We wanted iTunes Music store to be a definitive winner. Steve only did this deal because of that.

While Fiorina boasted about the ability to sell iPods branded with HP’s name, Apple was already expanding its retail footprint, and, soon after the deal with HP was inked, Apple upgraded the iPod, making HP’s version outdated.

Once Fiorina was ousted from HP in 2005, the story of the botched deal becomes even more convoluted. HP ended the iPod deal in July that year, but because of Fiorina’s deal HP was banned from selling its own music player until August 2006.

Levy ends the piece with a damning conclusion: