And you thought the days of competitors trying to battle iTunes was a thing of the past? Well, think again my friends. Businessweek reports on a new online store from Sony that will offer music, movies, books, and get this, maybe even apps. The online store is being called Sony Online Service, at least for the time being, and is “Sony’s most ambitious attempt to link its products to its own vast library of digital content.”
Sony executives refused to say how much it plans to invest in the new online service. Kazuo Hirai, executive vice-president for networked products and services, said the service would be based on Sony’s PlayStation Network. The Web-based gateway for PlayStation 3 video game consoles has been Sony’s most successful push into online commerce so far. Launched three years ago, the PSN has 33 million registered users and sells thousands of downloadable games, TV shows, and movies. Last month, Sony signed a deal with Netflix that lets PS3 users stream movies and other content through the gaming console.
Umm, the PlayStation Network is nowhere nearly as popular or as well-done as Microsoft’s xBox Live service, and if Sony can’t compete with Microsoft in the video game market, what makes them think they can create a worthy competitor to the online behemoth that is iTunes?
Sony will try to differentiate its service from iTunes. 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. “The new online service will be one key factor as we introduce new types of mobile products,” Hirai said.
Does this sound like a good idea to anybody? It’s like Sony is trying to create an online service that merges iTunes, iMovie, and iPhoto all into one snazzy product. It sounds like a clusterfuck in the making.