Sony’s Future Hinges On New Software & Content


Leading edge software and a brand new online portal that will deliver content seamlessly to devices is set to be a major part of Sony’s future with a brand new Playstation console and a new generation of wireless TV’s, speakers and sound and vision devices set to be rolled out during the next 18 months.

Behind the scenes Sony is buying up Companies such as Gracenote, a provider of digital media identification for their online assault which is expected to be rolled out later this year. Founded in 1998, Gracenote developed the CD identification technology that has become the standard used by software like Apple’s iTunes and Yahoo’s Music Jukebox and and on portable music players from Sony, Samsung and others.

They have also hired Tim Schaaff, a senior Apple executive who helped Apple develop the iPod interface and iTunes software.
Sony admit that they lost the walkman market because they were “lousy software developers” when compared to the likes of Apple who overnight took the portable music and video market away from Sony by not only having a superior product but more importantly better software.

Now Sony is getting set to roll out a major assault on Apple’s domination of the download content market and Microsoft’s Xbox live service.  They are also set to introduce a significantly upgraded PS 3 with new software that allows users to access games movies and music and push them to other devices over a wireless network.


By mid 2009 Sony is expected to roll out a new Playstation device which is set to be “as much a content management system as it is a pure gaming machine”. Key to the product is new software that is currently being developed Tim Schaaff and his team. Also being developed by Schaaff is new software that will sit on an embedded chipset inside a new generation of wireless TV’s.

This software will allow consumers to access online content from their TV’s without attaching another device.  Sony’s Chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer believe that software is one of the major development planks for Sony. At the CES Expo in Las Vegas he said “We take great pride in the power of Sony hardware. However, when we think about Sony’s software in the past, we have to honestly admit that our capabilities remain quite modest.”

Sony’s recommitment to software development under the leadership of their Senior Vice President of Software Development, Tim Schaaff is just beginning to now take shape. It would appear at this stage that an old software project called “Socratto” has been dragged out and dusted off and is now one of the projects that are high on Sony’s software agenda. Last year Sony applied for a trade mark for Socratto which suggests that the project is close to being viable.
While Apple is kicking goals now in the music and movie content market and Microsoft are attracting thousands to their live gaming site Sony are confident that they will be able to take both organizations on in the future.


n the content market Sony is already a major player Sony Pictures Entertainment is Sony Corporation’s television and film production/distribution unit. Since 1989, Sony has acquired Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. They also part own Sony/BMG and rumor has it that they are looking to acquire additional content companies. This week Sony announced that it is expanding their beta testing program for PlayStation Home and are now inviting more PS3 users to get involved in the testing.

When this “expanded closed beta test” is complete, Sony is expected to roll out a new online service that will deliver movies games and music to be downloaded to both Sony and non Sony devices. 

“We understand that we are asking PS3 and prospective PS3 users to wait a bit longer, but we have come to the conclusion that we need more time to refine the service to ensure a more focused gaming entertainment experience than what it is today”, said Kazuo Hirai, president and CEO, Sony.

“Our overarching objective is to provide users with new gaming experiences that are available only on PlayStation Home. Spending more time on the development and on the Closed Beta testing reaffirms our commitment to bringing a quality service, maintaining the PlayStation tradition.”

Details of the Closed Beta testing features, registration for the test and the opening of the service will be announced as they become available.

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