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Sony announces iTunes competitor for music, movies, books

post #1 of 54
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Sony on Thursday revealed it intends to launch an online store to sell music, movies and books, called Sony Online Service, designed to compete with Apple's iTunes.

According to BusinessWeek, the technology giant announced the tentatively named service during a management strategy meeting in Tokyo. It noted that the store is likely to "bear some similarities" to iTunes, as the company attempts to tie it to some of its most popular consumer electronics.

Sony reportedly plans to base its iTunes-like service on the existing PlayStation Network, a free online community that allows gamers to compete and communicate with one another, as well as purchase content. PSN currently has 33 million registered users worldwide.

"Sony will try to differentiate its service from iTunes," the report said. "One example: Users will be able to upload videos shot on camcorders, save photos taken with digital cameras, and post other digital content to their personal online accounts. That's how Google's suite of Net-based services (such as YouTube video-sharing and Picasso photo site) works. At some point down the road, Sony would consider letting independent software developers create applications for the service, much the way Apple does for its iPhone."

Sony competes with Apple in a number of markets, including MP3 players, portable games, computers and living room media players. Sony's announcement comes as the company has faced a number of struggles across its many businesses. Last year, the company lost $2.6 billion.

Sony has recently changed its focus to adopt a concrete software strategy. Under the direction of CEO and Chairman Howard Stringer, the company has attempted to shift away from its low-margin hardware business.

In 2005, Sony lured Apple executive Tim Schaaff away from the Cupertino, Calif., company. He was named Sony's senior vice president of software development.

Sony recently went download-only for software on its new PSPgo, a revised version of the PlayStation Portable handheld gaming platform. Much like Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch, the system offers a library of games that can be instantly purchased and downloaded.
post #2 of 54
*yawn* . . . mighta cared like 6 years ago.
post #3 of 54
One wonders what took them so long. Oh well, competition is always good.
post #4 of 54
Yeah... good luck with that Sony. At least you have an apt acronym for your service, SOS.
post #5 of 54
I wish them well but I have a feeling this will fail. Combining iTunes Store with YouTube and Picasa is not a recipe for failure, IMO.
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post #6 of 54
YES! And they own a fantastic catalogue from classical music to classic movies.
Now I see that this will fit in perfectly with their new WIFI HDTVs and Blu-ray machines as that access is already awaiting.
post #7 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I wish them well but I have a feeling this will fail. Combining iTunes Store with YouTube and Picasa is not a recipe for failure, IMO.

You're so right- The AppleTv combined iTunes with YouTube and Flickr and god knows what a disaster that's been without a TV or a Blu-ray attached to it like SOny's will have.
post #8 of 54
If you are going to download the movies directly from Sony, why would you need the Blue-ray machines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

YES! And they own a fantastic catalogue from classical music to classic movies.
Now I see that this will fit in perfectly with their new WIFI HDTVs and Blu-ray machines as that access is already awaiting.
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post #9 of 54
They're really calling it "SOS"?

I thought Sony had no sense of humor. I was wrong.
post #10 of 54
Why does many competitors feel that they have to hire Apple employees in order to compete with Apple?

They should train their own staff and forge their own way to success, not always copying and borrowing. This is bordering on idiocy.

And then you got insider-traitors like Shultz from Google and the wanna-be Rubinstein that now runs Palm. If these guys were never at Apple, they wouldn't have known how to build a smartphone based on software. I wonder what Steve Jobs really, and I mean really think of them. I bet he hates the ground they walk on.

Apple will not only survive, it will always lead. A good leader has vision. Apple is a leader.
post #11 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

If you are going to download the movies directly from Sony, why would you need the Blue-ray machines?

You may have just made him realize that his previous stance of" Blu-ray or the highway" was not the only viable way to access to content. Perhaps hell finally admit he was wrong about something.

I still reserve Blu-ray for certain films, use iTunes Store for instant stuff and Hulu for most TV Shows. There is a place for them all.
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post #12 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormchild View Post

They're really calling it "SOS"?

I thought Sony had no sense of humor. I was wrong.

Save Our Sony
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post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

If you are going to download the movies directly from Sony, why would you need the Blue-ray machines?

Same reason why one goes to Blockbuster rather than simply buy a DVD. There are titles to own and there are titles to rent.
post #14 of 54
Also, their last attempt at this ended well

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Connect
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post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Sony will try to differentiate its service from iTunes," the report said. "One example: Users will be able to upload videos shot on camcorders, save photos taken with digital cameras, and post other digital content to their personal online accounts. That's how Google's suite of Net-based services (such as YouTube video-sharing and Picasso photo site) works.

i don't recall itunes ever having sold itself as a content sharing site, so as far as a differentiator that's a big whoop-de-do. apples and oranges in that respect. what else you got?
post #16 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You may have just made him realize that his previous stance of" Blu-ray or the highway" was not the only viable way to access to content. Perhaps he’ll finally admit he was wrong about something.

I still reserve Blu-ray for certain films, use iTunes Store for instant stuff and Hulu for most TV Shows. There is a place for them all.

Keep misquoting me- that's a sign of your ignorance that compounds daily.
BTW on my train ride back yesterday from DC I bought Fortune's Man of the Decade issue. Very thorough- there must be 4 to 5 different articles on Steve Jobs and Apple.
So sorry though that you won't be reading it as you and the mouse both keep insisting that we don't know when this decade ends and should wait until December 2010.
post #17 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogcow View Post

Also, their last attempt at this ended well

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Connect

I've given up trying to keep track of all the media store wannabes over the years.

What's not mentioned is the form of DRM they plan to use to ensure this iteration's failure.
post #18 of 54
Isn't this Sony's second attempt? Sony Connect?
post #19 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Isn't this Sony's second attempt? Sony Connect?

Like the second coming of Newton we keep hearing about lately- no?
post #20 of 54
There market is shifting in this direction. This is a smart move for sony to make. If they wait much longer they will simply be left behind.
post #21 of 54
Hmm... let's see: Making massive losses (incl. in their core LCD TV business), losing market share, downsizing/retrenching SonyEricsson (who announced just yesterday that they are laying off 2500 people), unable to deliver e-readers in time for Christmas, hoping for a return to profitability by March 2011 (with a measley 5% profit margin goal),....

Apple is DOOMED!
post #22 of 54
Atleast their PS3 sales are up, as they've decided to make some good titles for it and price it slightly below extreme insanity. God that console was over priced at launch no wonder no one bought it. Give me GT5, and I'll buy a PS3.

Yawn, I used to love Sony stuff, they're just rudderless now. Good luck to them though, honestly.
post #23 of 54
We keep hearing that various players intend to do something to compete with Apple.

How about Sony, Nintendo, Dell and others restrict their announcments to actual product launches, rather than desparately thinking out loud in front of journalists.

post #24 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grawlix View Post

We keep hearing that various players intend to do something to compete with Apple.

How about Sony, Nintendo, Dell and others restrict their announcments to actual product launches, rather than desparately thinking out loud in front of journalists.


Yeah. Even launches have become so..... [yawn].....

I'd like to see a launch become a success that pushes Apple to get to the next level. At the rate it's going, they don't even really seem to be trying hard.
post #25 of 54
Too little, too late. Sony needs to offer something really compelling to get all those people to switch from iTunes. Because at this point in time most of those people who aren't on iTunes now --are never ever going to sign up to any media download service. Okay, maybe not in the third world but that's a long term play and really only a handful of third world countries have a decent chance of rising to near first-world consumption levels (in 25 years).

Better than start their own, I would suggest Sony stockholders demand that Sony Consumer Electronics be sold to Apple (in exchange for AAPL stock). Or at the very least a strategic partnership with Apple calling the shots. Anything to get Sony products inside the iTunes walled garden. I would love to be able to manage my HD camcorder through iTunes.
post #26 of 54
Bring it!
post #27 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormchild View Post

They're really calling it "SOS"?

I thought Sony had no sense of humor. I was wrong.

First thing I thought.... "Really...??"

might of well called it Custard's last stand. Farewell grand labels, farewell....
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post #28 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

If you are going to download the movies directly from Sony, why would you need the Blue-ray machines?

maybe because the quality of downloads is very poor compared to blu-ray?
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Isn't this Sony's second attempt? Sony Connect?

Isn't bandit.fm run by Sony as well?
post #30 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

*yawn* . . . mighta cared like 6 years ago.

That was actually funny, and I don't know why.
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post #31 of 54
what Sony is really attempting to do is create a complete on-line media store that would be directly accessed via all their consumer hardware products. in other words, to create a Sony "ecosystem" around its hardware like Apple did with iTunes for Apple products. Sony has been adding these on line features to its new TV's as well as the PS3 and no doubt will add the PSPGo and other A/V gear to it as well. anyone paying attention to Sony's A/V products these days would have noticed this is what is going on there (AI didn't).

now that may or may not work. but it is not really about competing directly with iTunes in the general digital media marketplace as AI assumes. that would also take stand-alone multi-function multi-platform front-end software just like iTunes/Quicktime. which Sony ain't got. it just has a website.

one problem is other OEM's have similar "ecosystem" ideas including media stores, like Nokia's Ovi. but consumer don't want to mess with two or three, they want one that "just works" on all their gear - and all gear has already been forced by the market to interface with iTunes somehow (DLNA etc).

another is Sony's dependence on Windows OS for its line of computers always puts them behind default MS media programs/services, even on the desktop of Sony VAIO's.

last, Sony products GUI's just can't escape that 1990's feel - the cursor controlled by arrow buttons.

poor Sony.
post #32 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post

maybe because the quality of downloads is very poor compared to blu-ray?

He fails to realize people have always rented in addition to owning.
Do I really need to own Rachel Getting Married?
post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

If you are going to download the movies directly from Sony, why would you need the Blue-ray machines?

For artifact-free FULL-HD?

It's too bad Sony's classical music catalogue is so stagnant... except for a few Esa-Pekka Salonen recordings and the latest flavor slinky violinist. Seriously, how many times can you re-re-re-re-re-release the same Vladimir Horowitz, Leonard Bernstein or Glenn Gould recordings with new cover art and get away with it?

Maybe Microsoft is taking a cue from Sony Classical for Windows 7? Vista with new graphics and skin...

It seems like Sony is being smart this time around linking it to their hardware as a value-added service. if it were just going to be an iTunes wannabe trying to compete directly? No way.
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post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by darwiniandude View Post

Yawn, I used to love Sony stuff, they're just rudderless now. Good luck to them though, honestly.

Sony still makes a fantastic TV set!
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post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

He fails to realize people have always rented in addition to owning.
Do I really need to own Rachel Getting Married?

For some of us, image quality is more important than convenience. When I rent movies, I'd rather wait for the Blu-ray than get the DVD immediately.

maybe in 10 years we'll see instant-access FullHD quality downloads.
But by then it will be 6000 x 2000 (or whatever) resolution for HD.
Blu-ray will seem quaint, DVDs like the wax cylinder.
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post #36 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

Sony still makes a fantastic TV set!

Yes they do.

Twice the refresh rate and a glorious matte screen for hours of reflection free viewing.

It's like a theater in your house, all warm and comfy.

The glossy iMac as a TV? Crap!
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post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post

maybe because the quality of downloads is very poor compared to blu-ray?

Poor compared to Blu-ray doesnt mean that a market cant be had. Apples iTMS music is poor compared to CD audio yet the iTMS was able to become the largest music store in the world. Sometimes good enough + more convenience trumps higher quality + less convenient. To use troll boys example, I dont need to wait to get Netflix to send me Rachel Getting Married on Blu-ray in the mail when a digital version is SD or 720p HD is good enough.
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post #38 of 54
If these idiots intend to let you download to own movies in a quality that is SUPERIOR to bluray, not "comparable" or "bluray quality" or whatever bulshit they come up with, I might be interested. Otherwise, why the hell would I buy something tied down to a proprietary company's system that is historically known for inventing the worst copyright management programs known to man (rootkit scandal anyone) and is additionally-at best- on really shitty financial ground?
post #39 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Poor compared to Blu-ray doesnt mean that a market cant be had. Apples iTMS music is poor compared to CD audio yet the iTMS was able to become the largest music store in the world. Sometimes good enough + more convenience trumps higher quality + less convenient. To use troll boys example, I dont need to wait to get Netflix to send me Rachel Getting Married on Blu-ray in the mail when a digital version is SD or 720p HD is good enough.

If you're renting Rachel Getting Married, you're problems extend way beyond debates about image quality and video refresh rates.

Microsoft and McDonald's have done alright ruling the just barely passable quality department.
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post #40 of 54
Didn't they have an online music store that failed once before? The difference is now they have PSN users - 22 million to be exact. Good luck to them. iTunes could use the competition.
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