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Wednesday, September 08, 2010, 11:15 pm PT (02:15 am ET)

Apple working together with BridgeCo to launch AirPlay

In a rare partnership, Apple allowed BridgeCo a glimpse at its code in order to open up AirPlay streaming media integration to third-party devices.

BridgeCo, a software company that embeds chips for streaming media, gained unprecedented access to Apple's in-development AirPlay technology as a trusted partner, according to a new report by CNBC.

Prior to the partnership, Apple had never "opened up their eco-system," said BridgeCo CEO Gene Sheridan. "We've always been knocking on the door to work with them on this."

The El Segundo, Calif., company had worked with Apple before on iPod dock products, but a year ago, Apple invited BridgeCo to work with them even more closely as a launch partner for AirPlay, Apple's new wireless media streaming technology.

Sheridan and his team were given a rare opportunity to look at Apple's code. "There is a magic to Apple that sounds simple," he said. "They know how to take a complex and feature-rich technology and narrow it."

Afterward, BridgeCo sent Apple a "long list" of what it had to offer. The Cupertino, Calif., company chose three items.

Whereas previous third-party iTunes streaming options were "reverse engineering workarounds," BridgeCo's partnership with Apple means consumers won't have to worry that Apple's next software update will disable the streaming functionality of a third-party device.

The first stereo equipment with BridgeCo's new JukeBlox software, which will allow users to take advantage of AirPlay and "mix and match" equipment, should be out by the holidays.

BridgeCo isn't profitable yet, but the Apple partnership could quickly turn things around. According to the report, the deal could provide as much as "half the company's revenues."

On its website, Apple promotes Denon, Marantz, Bowers&Wilkins, JBL, and iHome as "featured partners" of AirPlay. Of these brands, only Denon is cross-listed on the BridgeCo website as a "Top Brand Connecting with BridgeCo."

At the Sep. 1 media event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs demoed the AirPlay technology by streaming the movie "Up" directly from an iPad running iOS 4.2 to the new AppleTV over Wi-Fi. Full AirPlay media streaming from iOS devices should be available through iOS 4.2 in November.