New Sony Division to Target Apple's iPod Dominance

Sony Corp. has established a new technology division to develop products and services that challenge the iPod digital media device and the iTunes Music Store service, a published report said Wednesday.

The Asahi Shimbun news service reports the new division, named the Connect Company, was established on Nov. 1 and includes a number of Sony technology and marketing experts from Japan and the United States.

The division will enter into operations early next year and will eventually employ 300 to 400 workers, the news service reported.

The first products developed by the new division are expected to become available by the end of 2005. Connect Company will also operate music download services similar to iTunes that will be personal computer- and cellphone-compatible. In the future, the division is expected to offer video and game distribution services.

Why is Sony just now meeting the competition from Apple and its iPod? "Itis a business that we should have carved out ahead of our rivals," a Sony executive said. As to why the company waited so long to launch an online music service and hasnit aggressively expanded its music library, Sony Chairman Nobuyuki Idei admitted it has been largely hamstrung over copyright concerns at its recording company affiliate.