Sony to rival iTunes with mobile multimedia storefront

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Sony Corporation is the latest entrant into the crowded digital storefront space, stating plans to launch an online marketplace selling music, movies, books and related media optimized for mobile devices. Sony offered few concrete details on the store, tentatively and unimaginatively named Sony Online Service and announced during a management strategy meeting in Tokyo held Thursday--according to BusinessWeek, the effort is expected to bear some resemblance to Apple's iTunes, and will attempt to market Sony hardware in conjunction with its vast content holdings. (Three years ago, Sony chairman and CEO Howard Stringer hired away Apple exec Tim Schaaff to spearhead the company's software efforts.) Sony will nevertheless look to differentiate the service by enabling users to upload their personal content a la Google's YouTube--the company is also said to be considering the addition of an App Store-like mobile application marketplace open to independent software developers.

With the recession impacting consumer spending on electronics, Sony predicts its fiscal year through March 2010 will culminate in operating losses of $674 million, still an improvement over last year's $2.6 billion loss. "Sony has been too focused on hardware," Tokai Tokyo Research Center analyst Osamu Hirose tells BusinessWeek. "It has to focus on networked products [and] delivering digital entertainment to consumers."

For more on Sony Online Service:
- read this BusinessWeek article

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