Sony on Thursday introduced plans to launch an online portal for music, movies, books, and other content such as applications, according to BusinessWeek. The market, named Sony Online Service, is expected to fulfill CEO Howard Stringer's goals and help the company compete against alternatives such as iTunes.
"Sony has been too focused on hardware," said Tokai Tokyo Research Center analyst Osamu Hirose, echoing a common criticism. "It has to focus on networked products [and] delivering digital entertainment to consumers."
Soon after Stringer joined the company, he hired ex-Apple executive Tim Schaaff to serve as senior VP of software development. The Sony chief was also credited with rearranging the management structure to empower leadership that believes in the power of software, despite the company's historic focus on hardware.
Little has been disclosed regarding details of the Sony Online Service, although it is said to be based on the PlayStation Network. Sony's executive VP of networked products and services, Kazuo Hirai, claims the company is still debating how many of the current Network members will transition to the new service. "We would target quite a few of them," he said.
The service is expected to enable direct video and image uploads, allowing users to display the content on their personal accounts. The company is also considering allowing third-party developers to create apps that work with the online portal.