Sony to Take On Apple in Video Downloads -- WSJ

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Includes: AAPL, SNE
by: Steven Towns

The Wall Street Journal reports sources say Sony chief Howard Stringer is quietly developing a video-downloading service, which involves the company's PS3 and PSP game consoles and Bravia HD TVs, to challenge rival Apple's iTunes service. Unlike Apple's dominance in music devices and downloads, analysts say the video-downloading market is up for grabs. Sony has already released a module for its TVs sold in the U.S. that allows for downloading of Internet content. For Europe, Sony recently announced a feature for HD TV recording to PS3s and an ability to transfer content to PSPs. Sony faces competition from Microsoft, which has been positioning its Xbox 360 console for video downloading. Apple's sales of video downloads have reportedly been declining this year. The Journal notes Sony may hold an advantage over Apple, given general wariness of Apple's dominance in music downloads, not to mention Sony owns a movie studio, seemingly sharing content producers' concerns. Separately, Sony plans to list a 34.5% stake of its financial unit (Sony Financial Holdings) valued at up to ¥361 billion ($3B), on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Pricing will be set on Oct. 1, with trading expected to start Oct. 11. Ordinary shares of Sony gained 0.1% to ¥5,610 ($48.55 ADR equiv. at ¥115.55/$1) on Tuesday. Sony's ADRs gained 4.1% to $47.78 on Friday.

Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, Wall Street Journal
Commentary: Sony Announces HD TV Recording Device for PS3Video Game Companies Extend Bullish TrendMemo To Microsoft and Sony: Game Consoles Are For Playing Games
Stocks/ETFs to watch: SNE. Competitors: AAPL, MSFT. ETFs: ADRA, EWJ, ITF
Earnings call transcript: Sony F1Q07, Apple F3Q07, Microsoft F4Q07

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