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DataPlay's OEM Partners Due In July

6/11/2001 02:00:00 AM Eastern

BOULDER, COLO. — DataPlay today reported a new list of investors that include Kodak and Intel and expects to finalize its list of manufacturers that will sign OEM agreements allowing them to produce devices based on DataPlay's removable storage technology for release later this year.

The results of DataPlay's latest, and last for the time being last, round of financing, that ended on June 4, has the company securing $55 million from investors. The list includes Kodak, Olympus Optical, Intel Capital, Imation, Trans World Entertainment, which owns music retailers Strawberries and The Wall, along with several venture capital groups, said CFO Rich Mohr. DataPlay now has convinced companies to bet more than $119 million on DataPlay's 500MB removable storage technology.

While about 40 manufacturers have expressed an interest in building DataPlay-based products, Samsung, Toshiba, Sonic Blue, Creative Labs and Olympus are actively developing product. This list will be pared down even further in July or August with the finalist being able to start shipping hardware when DataPlay gives the final go ahead this fall, the company said.

About 40 manufacturers displayed product prototypes at Winter CES in January. A company spokesperson indicated it was highly unlikely that any except the five already mentioned would be among the first to roll out DataPlay products.

The firm could not say which of the interested parties would make the final cut, but said that those that have invested in DataPlay did have a leg up on the competition.

DataPlay will rely not only on OEM deals to get product to market but intends to roll out the media, as well as a line of branded hardware products.

In addition to hardware, DataPlay expects music to be distributed on its quarter-size discs. At the IRMA convention in April, David Davies, DataPlay's chief technology officer, said that between 100 and 250 titles should be available at launch. Universal Music Group, EMI Recorded Music, BMG Entertainment and Rosetta Books are signed on to release the titles this year.

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