Friday, January 10, 2003

WSJ.com - Microsoft, Sony Sketch Visions Of Future Connections in Home "Although Sony and Microsoft are competing fiercely in the videogame market, Mr. Ando told reporters that Sony executives talk regularly with counterparts from Microsoft and chip maker Intel Corp. Without providing details, he said negotiations were under way to make it easier in the future to connect products from the information-technology and audio-visual industries.
"We are hoping that we can make an announcement that Sony, Intel, Microsoft and all the key guys will get together to guarantee compatibility between IT and AV products," [Sony COO] Mr. Ando said during a press conference following his keynote speech. "We still have not made it to the point where we can make an official announcement."
For the moment, however, Sony is making software decisions that are at odds with Microsoft's designs. Mr. Ando said that although Sony uses the Microsoft Windows operating system for its Vaio personal computers, Sony remains committed to operating software developed by Palm Inc. for hand-held computers.
In the living room, Mr. Ando said, Sony is working with other consumer-electronics companies to promote the free Linux operating system as a standard building block. It already has used Linux in CoCoon, a new product line which has a hard disk for recording videoprogramming from television sets, downloads software and data, and can learn user preferences. The first CoCoon device is being sold in Japan but hasn't been released in the U.S. yet.
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Intel, meanwhile, seems to have a foot in both camps. It is Microsoft's biggest partner in the PC business but Intel also is working with Sony on Linux-based products. Craig Barrett, Intel's chief executive officer, also pledged in his keynote speech to promote the interconnection of consumer and computing devices, particularly through the use of wireless technology. The company disclosed that a new generation of notebook computers, based on the new brand Centrino, will go on sale in March.
"Whether the center of all the activity is a media-controlling PC or another media center of some type really doesn't matter," Mr. Barrett said in an interview. "Everything plays together."
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