"It's similar to Microsoft and Intel in trying to propel the PC as an industry. The problem is, [home networking] is way too complicated. If there were simple plug-and-play devices, that would propel the market for everybody."
——AOL Time Warner Chairman Steve Case

AOLTW, SONY PACT ON HIGH-SPEED WEB ACCESS

Companies Poised to Rival Microsoft as Well as Muddle the Whole MusicNet/Pressplay Thing
AOL Time Warner announced today it has pacted with Sony to jointly develop high-speed and networking products. Terms of the nonexclusive agreement weren't disclosed.

As part of the agreement, AOL and Sony will work to develop gateway technologies, which tie together different devices and an Internet browser compatible with Sony's networked consumer electronic devices—like, f’rinstance, the PlayStation 2. Back in May, AOL agreed to work with Sony to provide AOL services such as e-mail to PlayStation 2 users (hitsdailydouble.com, 5/15).

AOLTW and Sony are also developing an Internet browser suitable for devices smaller than PCs.

Of course, just how this impacts the eventual MusicNet (the AOLTW/RealNetworks/EMI/Bertelsmann joint venture) vs. Pressplay (the Sony/Vivendi Universal joint venture) online music distribution war is yet to be seen.

It sure makes the landscape interesting though, don’t it?

"It's similar to Microsoft and Intel in trying to propel the PC as an industry," said AOL Time Warner Chairman Steve Case in the Los Angeles Times. "The problem is, [home networking] is way too complicated. If there were simple plug-and-play devices, that would propel the market for everybody."

The pact is seen as a move to rival Microsoft, which is promoting online services and the use of its Windows operating system to run a variety of networked devices. And speaking of Microsoft, the software giant’s Xbox game system, a rival to Sony's PS2, goes on sale Nov. 15.

Sony also struck a deal with Nokia to develop software and service platforms that will allow mobile handsets and other electronics devices to connect and easily share content.

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