Sony is reportedly preparing a bit move to challenge Apple's video download aspirations.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Sony is going to use its PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and Bravia TVs to ride shotgun with video download services. This effort would be similar to the way Apple couples iTunes with iPods.
To be sure, there's a huge market to tap. And Apple doesn't dominate video the way it controls music. Meanwhile, Hollywood wants a credible rival to Apple and is putting its dollars behind services such as Hulu and Joost.
In other words, all the elements are there to thwart Apple. Now all Sony needs is a clue--and I'm not convinced it has one.
To be sure, Sony is making a little progress. It finally ended its Connect music download service. And Sony has gone less proprietary by using Microsoft Windows Media software on its latest Walkmans.
But Sony's video effort will be rife with conflicts. Video downloads are likely to be tethered to selling PSPs and Playstations. There will be compromises between units of Sony and the customer experience takes a hit.
Sony could be a video player--if it could break itself up so it doesn't have an electronic group at odds with the movie studio. All the parts are there for Sony. The organization isn't.
Can Sony change? Sure but it's unlikely. Read this two-year-old Knowledge@Wharton story on Howard Stringer's big plans and Sony's challenges. Has anything really changed?