Sony has said that it plans to launch an online store selling music, movies, and books as well as other downloadable applications for mobile products.
Sony’s top executives didn’t specify when the Internet store, tentatively called Sony Online Service, would go live or what it would look like. But the online storefront, announced at a management strategy meeting in Tokyo, is likely to bear some similarities to Apple’s iTunes store and would be Sony’s most ambitious attempt to link its products to its own vast library of digital content.
Coming up with a software strategy for Sony has been Chairman and CEO Howard Stringer’s mission since taking over in mid-2006. The adjustment hasn’t been easy. Long known for the world-class designs of its flat-screen Bravia TVs, Walkman music players, and Cybershot cameras, Sony has struggled to use software to its advantage.
Analysts say that creating software to sell an array of online services and content is Sony’s best hope of improving its fortunes. “Sony has been too focused on hardware,” says Tokai Tokyo Research Center analyst Osamu Hirose. “It has to focus on networked products [and] delivering digital entertainment to consumers.”