Merrill’s Milunovich: Are Apple & Sony Working on New Products Together?

Apple Computer and Sony could be working together on a number of new products ranging from computers to music devices, Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich said Tuesday.

The Wall Street analyst told clients in a commentary found it "intriguing" that Sony President Kunitake Ando was on stage with Apple CEO Steve Jobs at Mac Expo-San Francisco in January.

"Why did Steve Jobs say that Apple and Sony could possibly work together on computers and music? We think Apple could introduce products based on the IBM/Sony/Toshiba Cell processor," Mr. Milunovich wrote.

Cautioning that his thoughts were "logical conjecture and are not based on knowledge of Appleis development plans," Mr. Milunovich speculated a Sony/Apple partnership could mean a number of different things, ranging from high-end workstations to online services.

"We speculate that an Apple/Sony partnership could take the following forms: (1) an iTunes-like iMovies Store online using the H.264 codec and streaming Sony and Pixar content, (2) a high-performance Apple workstation using Cell for video editing, and (3) a network-centric TV with computing for handling the next-generation of entertainment feeds."

The broker speculated an Apple/Sony partnership could put Apple "at the heart of the HD and digital consumer revolution and provide grist for further earnings per share increase and stock appreciation."

Mr. Milunovich reiterated his "buy" rating on Apple stock (AAPL) "with a new price objective of $102 per share." On January 28, Mr. Milunovich set a $85 price target.

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