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Corpus_Callosum
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2005-02-09, 02:09

There are interesting relationships brewing between Sony and Apple. That much is certain as evidenced by Sony's CEO making an appearance at Steve Jobs' MWSF keynote.

We could easily dismiss the whole affair as being related to HD video, but would HD video cameras bring Sony's CEO to the stage in SF? I don't think anyone believes that.

Sony does have a mighty presence in movie distribution. So we could speculate that the relationship to digitally distribute movie content has something to do with it. But again, would that be enough to excite Mr. Ando into showing up and waving his arms so much?

There is the issue of the CELL processor that Sony and IBM just introduced. This is interesting, because it is a POWER derivitive and compatible with the G5. OS X could presumably run unmodified on it, but could easily be modified to leverage the new SPUs found on that chip (Core Graphics, for example could use the SPUs).

There was even talk at the keynote of collaborating on computers? See a writeup here: Apple and CELL?

Sony would probably benefit greatly from switching from an Intel computer strategy to one that allowed it to sell it's own processors, but they would need an Operating System. The PS3 itself might even be in need of an advanced operating system to make use of the new hardware.

And of course there is the issue of Apple dominating the online music distribution business and MP3 players. This is something of a conundrum for Sony who has traditionally dominated in both media and media players for music.

In the Apple vs Microsoft wars, it is clear that Apple wants to make inroads into Windows marketshare, but they have one really big obstacle: People buy PCs to run Windows GAMES. Apple needs a way to beef up it's entertainment offerings for OS X. Please note that Apple is attending this year's E3 convention (the video gaming convention). If the PS3 ran some variety of OS X, would it make some sense that those PSx games might find their way onto the shelves for Apple computers?

So we are left with a situation where each company probably lusts after what the other could give them. Let's summarize:

What does Sony want:
An operating system for their CELL chips (for PS3 and laptops/desktops)
To be able to compete with iPod
To be able to compete or be compatible with iTMS
To be able to distribute their movies online?

What does Apple want:
The CELL chip (some say 10-50x faster than current G5s)
The right to distribute movies and music owned by Sony
Support for Sony products for Apple computers (Camcorders, etc..)
Compatibility with PS3 games?

What could make all of this happen?
* Cross-licensing:
* Sony licenses OS X and FairPlay from Apple. PS3 is built on OS X and Sony can sell Mac compatible laptops and desktops as well as iTMS compatible MP3 players.
* Apple licenses some libraries to allow OS X to play PS3 games. Apple can produce consoles and/or other hardware that is PS3 compatible.
* Sony licenses movie content to Apple. iTMS becomes iMS (Media Store) and begins distributing H.234 HD video content as well as music. Both Apple and Sony can sell consoles that make use of this content to play HD in Home Media setups. Sony can embed these functions into TVs and Projectors as well.

---
Benefits:
* Sony changes to a competitor to Microsoft/Intel and a partner to Apple/IBM. Sony has long despised it's dependence on Microsoft and Intel and their profit margins would increase by using their own hardware. Software licensing would simply switch from Microsoft to Apple and wouldn't be affected to much, except insofar as Sony would be able to wound it's primary competitor (which they would love to do).
* With the use of the CELL chip, Mac would be untouchable. Nothing like it exists in the PC world at all. The SPUs found on the CELL chip are like something out of science fiction. It will take the WinTel world years to catch up.
* Apple gains enormous marketshare. Sony branded Macs, HP branded iPods, etc.. Apple makes it's move to become more of a software company. It will always have loyal customers of it's hardware, but the software business is pure profit - it's margins would skyrocket, it's market-share would take a giant leap forward and it's stock would shoot straight up.
* Sony and Apple gain movie media distribution in a manner both can live with
* Sony and Apple claim a co-monopoly on HD movie distribution. Although ultimately, Apple would probably come out better from the deal (in distribution) as it signs with the other movie distributors. Sony would have a clear lead in consumer devices that leverage the system.
* The PS3 gets a powerful operating system to sit on
* Apple gets a huge library of video games
* the list goes on and on...

Comments?

Last edited by Corpus_Callosum : 2005-02-09 at 02:14.
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TednDi
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2005-02-09, 10:17

Exactly!

don't forget cell phones SonyErricson and quicktime scaling!

Downloadable tunes are coming. look at moto being the first of many.

The list does indeed go on and on.
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scratt
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2005-02-09, 10:23

All very reasoned points.
I will wait with interest.
There is nothing in there that in a prefect world either Sony or Apple could see as detrimental to themselves....

I doubt it will happen as *perfect things* don't very often, because of the contrariness of life... But I hope it does...

I actually think this could stop Apple becoming what I fear it will if it continues down the path it is right now, alone.

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt
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BenRoethig
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2005-02-09, 10:31

The cell is going to be a multimedia titan, but its still unknown if it will have any application in personal computers.
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Stephen Wright
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2005-02-09, 11:58

From what i have read i doubt you could run OSX on Cell without a rewrite, however if you had a G5 and a CELL on one machine you could use the CELL as a massively powerful media streaming processor, whichis what it is designed for.
At least in its current form.
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lewd0006
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2005-02-09, 16:43

Exactly, Ben. Sure are a lot of assumptions here.
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morningstarrising
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2005-02-09, 19:25

Add Blu-Ray and you have alot more assumptions
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NaMo4184
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2005-02-10, 00:01

I heard that the Ps2 was difficult to code for and never really realized its true potential because of that. Maybe sony just wants apple to make userfriendly coding tools for cell based ps3 and hd tvs.. That just happens to be on a sony branded apple boxes...

Last edited by NaMo4184 : 2005-02-10 at 00:04. Reason: spelling errors
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scratt
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2005-02-10, 00:11

Oh no... Don't start the PS2 'hard to code' debate again!!

Anyway, I don't know what the truth is... There are just so many ways that Apple and Sony overlap, and could colaborate to the the benefit of both.

They already do that in some small ways anyway.

There is also, obviously, mutual admiration between the companies and their management.

I think they are two of a kind and could possibly work together without being at war. This would be unique in the computer industry where we see so many colaborations which are really only a kind of 'detante', prior to a take over. But Apple and Sony would be able to transcend this IMHO and form a real partnership strategic partnership or even a 'Keiritsu'.

M$ and a few others would probably shit a brick if that happened!

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt
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NaMo4184
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2005-02-10, 02:12

In the crowd of the big 3 it seems like Sony fits nicely with apple, IBM fits nicely with apple, but Toshiba... Where do they come in. Also The CEO of Hp stepped down. maybe that means that he wanted to get in the group but the rest of the company didn't want in so he desserted. All this adds up in my mind to mean that clearly cell is right around the corner. (in my dreams)
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Corpus_Callosum
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2005-02-10, 04:26

First, a couple of minor mistakes in my original post: I meant H.264, not H.234. Also, I meant Core Image and Core Video rather than Core Graphics. But I'm pretty sure everyone understood.

As I think more on this topic, I am becoming convinced that all or part of this must be on the strategy map between Sony and Apple. In particular, colaboration on H.264 distribution and device support is almost certain (the year of HD?). H.264 for HD DVDs, H.264 as a native format on HD videocams, Movies encoded by H.264 with FairPlay available through iMS (Media Store), etc...

I do think we will see Sony MP3 players compatible with iTMS this year. Apple set a precedent by allowing HP to brand iPods, and HP has no-where near the bargaining power of Sony in this situation. Licensing FairPlay will be neccessary for Apple to get distribution rights to Sony movie content, I am almost certain of it. But in the end, this will help Apple anyway. If Apple doesn't let other devices have compatibility with iTMS, eventually people will rebel at the lock-in.

The CELL, PS3, OS X relationship is much more curious and more explosive. Both Apple and Sony are used to thinking of their "platforms" as being their own exclusive territory. But in this case, 1+1>2 and they both know it. By cross-licensing, Sony gets more customers for it's games (remember, the consoles are loss-leaders, the razors to the money making games [blades]). Apple gets games for it's platform. Sony gets a state-of-the-art OS for it's console and Apple gets licensing revenue and bragging rights about it's powering the PS3. Sony gets to sell CELL based laptops and desktops - the marketing muscle of Sony will draw customers Apple could never reach and Apple can rely on Sony's awesome manufacturing capacity while pulling in super-high margin profits from the OS X licenses and associated software.

Do Apple and Sony have the balls to cross-license?

Next, there is the issue of the H.264 media devices... This one is where there may be contention. I am certain Apple wants the living room - they are going to want the device streaming H.264 to the TV to be an Apple device with the popularity of the iPod. But in our dream of Sony/Apple, Sony will have the advantage - day one access to the iMS where H.264 content is available (remember, much of it is their content), a massive sales channel and substantial assets in DVDs, TVs, Projectors and other video equipment.

Does Apple / Steve Jobs have the foresight and ability to concede H.264+FairPlay to Sony that will be required? Is Steve willing to fight the battle for H.264 device marketshare with the power of his brand or will he try to leverage his monopoly at the expense of a good relationship with Sony?

Of course, this all might be a moot point if all of Sony's H.264 devices run on some version of the CELL chip and therefore require some variety of OS X to power them. I guess Steve Jobs would be pretty happy either way if that were the case.

As a last note I would like to remind everyone that one of the visions of CELL processors is that the SPUs found on the processor could be harnessed by remote CELL chips (e.g. on a network). So, for instance, the CELL in your TV could help with Final Cut Pro effect rendering or what have you. For this type of vision to really work, you need something like rendezvous and xGrid. Just food for thought...
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TednDi
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2005-02-10, 09:42

I would only add one small point. What is the mindshare if whenever a sony product booted up you see Sony as expected then something like "Powered by Apple" with the apple logo. Everytime you boot up your playstation, walkman, PVP, and vaio computer......?
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oldmacfan
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2005-02-10, 14:15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corpus_Callosum
The CELL, PS3, OS X relationship is much more curious and more explosive. Both Apple and Sony are used to thinking of their "platforms" as being their own exclusive territory. But in this case, 1+1>2 and they both know it. By cross-licensing, Sony gets more customers for it's games (remember, the consoles are loss-leaders, the razors to the money making games [blades]). Apple gets games for it's platform. Sony gets a state-of-the-art OS for it's console and Apple gets licensing revenue and bragging rights about it's powering the PS3. Sony gets to sell CELL based laptops and desktops - the marketing muscle of Sony will draw customers Apple could never reach and Apple can rely on Sony's awesome manufacturing capacity while pulling in super-high margin profits from the OS X licenses and associated software.

Do Apple and Sony have the balls to cross-license?
This Utopia brought to you by...

Yes, this would be great, but ego's are going to get in the way. I don't believe that either company has what it takes to do this type of agreement and that is really sad, there is so much potential right now and not much hope.

If this Utopia was pulled off, the ramifications would be mind boggling, history would be rewritten, and computing would come out of it's infancy.

Mile 1
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TednDi
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2005-02-10, 15:11

and perhaps that is why the CEO of Sony was waiving his hands about and barely able to control his sphinter on stage at MWSF Video camera be damned! Egos may indeed fall if there is enough respect between the CEO's and Boardrooms.

and everybody hates M$
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Corpus_Callosum
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2005-02-10, 15:36

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmacfan
Yes, this would be great, but ego's are going to get in the way. I don't believe that either company has what it takes to do this type of agreement and that is really sad, there is so much potential right now and not much hope.
I think Steve Jobs has the brains and the balls. I think his ego will get in the way when it comes to Opening up iTMS to Sony MP3 players and iMS to Sony H.264 devices. But Sony has a big stick - it has all the media. In the end, I think Steve will do the right thing and sign ( he probably sees the writing on the wall, that if he doesn't open up the store it will eventually die an aggravating death ).

I doubt Apple will have much of a problem with the idea of licensing OS X to Sony for embedded applications (PS3, TVs, PVRs, etc..). But the wars that will be fought over price-fixing for laptops and desktops will be feirce. In the end, they will figure it out. Steve will end up conceding BECAUSE Sony willl wave around the CELL processor and offer up PS3 compatibility rights (which helps them sell more games anyway).

Quote:
If this Utopia was pulled off, the ramifications would be mind boggling, history would be rewritten, and computing would come out of it's infancy.
Yes, I think you are right. History will be re-written. Shorting MSFT and Intel stock will be a favorite money-making activity for many investors. Buying extra gadgets (like a new TV) so your FCP rendering goes faster will just be the beginning of the weird phenomena of swarm processing power.

The world will be put straight. It was an accident that Bill Gates molested us with his horrid Windows for so long. Apple's rightful claim to the position of guide to consumer computing will be reclaimed and rightfully so.

Hopefully, this time, greed doesn't stop progress.
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TednDi
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2005-02-10, 15:55

I could also see sony buying the ipod division from apple for $ and rights to the sony music and movie library. In exchange apple gets the cell processor and licensing rights to the ipos OS on every unit sold and the rights to the mobile OS (old newton stock) which will power the next gen sony smartphones and pda's

just a thought
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NaMo4184
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2005-02-10, 19:42

Here is some pure speculation. Sony hates microsoft but what they hate more is being trapped under 1 os. With cell it is possible to use multiple oses with 1 chip. So for Sony it is probably in their best interestest not to give everything to apple but to make M$ and Apple duke it out. I say this because xbox2 is going to based off of the ppc architecture and long horn should have been out in 2004. Maybe all the delay and the switch to pcc for xbox2 is because they knew about cell just as well as apple did. and its not going to be some easy take over its going to be a fresh start for full out os warfare.

Sorry that this is kind of off subject
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Robo
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2005-02-10, 20:49

I dreamed (dreamt?) about Macworld a night or so before the keynote...One of the things in my dream was a Sony-branded iPod. It was an entirely new iPod - it had a funky name, which I unfortunately don't remember, and it looked completely different. I sorta doubt that we'll see an "iPod +Sony" anytime soon, but I did think it was eerie that Steve talked about partering with Sony in the keynote.

Of course, I also dreamed of new Powerbooks in the same dream...so, well, it obviously wasn't a prophecy or anything Just thought I'd share anyway, 'cause I'm bored.
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scratt
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2005-02-10, 20:50

That would be very Japanese... So they might do that.
They will certainly not have made a firm decision yet.

On the latter part off your comments... M$ are just not that smart!

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt
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BenRoethig
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2005-02-11, 06:52

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaMo4184
Here is some pure speculation. Sony hates microsoft but what they hate more is being trapped under 1 os. With cell it is possible to use multiple oses with 1 chip. So for Sony it is probably in their best interestest not to give everything to apple but to make M$ and Apple duke it out. I say this because xbox2 is going to based off of the ppc architecture and long horn should have been out in 2004. Maybe all the delay and the switch to pcc for xbox2 is because they knew about cell just as well as apple did. and its not going to be some easy take over its going to be a fresh start for full out os warfare.

Sorry that this is kind of off subject
When they say multiple OSes they don't mean being ISA independent. They mean it could run two OSes coded for it, say AIX and redhat at the same time.
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NaMo4184
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2005-02-11, 09:42

BenRoethig. Thanks for the enlightenment!
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groskit
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2005-02-12, 00:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaMo4184
Here is some pure speculation. Sony hates microsoft but what they hate more is being trapped under 1 os. With cell it is possible to use multiple oses with 1 chip. So for Sony it is probably in their best interestest not to give everything to apple but to make M$ and Apple duke it out. I say this because xbox2 is going to based off of the ppc architecture and long horn should have been out in 2004. Maybe all the delay and the switch to pcc for xbox2 is because they knew about cell just as well as apple did. and its not going to be some easy take over its going to be a fresh start for full out os warfare.

Sorry that this is kind of off subject
a bit off, but nonetheless true, it might just become a full OS warfare.
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Corpus_Callosum
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2005-02-14, 13:40

Anyone have contacts at Sony that could shed any light on talks with Apple?
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elvia
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2005-02-14, 20:42

Just to show you that everybody should buy apple stock now...
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Bucolic Old Sir Henry
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2005-02-15, 00:33

I think it extremely unlikely that Sony will do any sort of deal on Playstation games - they make them far too much money. And iPod+iTMS is far too important to Apple in terms of both money and mindshare to be opened up - at least in the short term.

On the other hand, if - and it's a big if - Apple have been busy coding Tiger to be compatible with (or at least easily portable to) cell architectures, I can see Apple and Sony cross-licensing OS-X for use in appliances and perhaps Sony's Vaio desktop/laptop ranges - though that last bit could cause some marketing issues. Vaio could be said to sit in the same sort of style niche as iMac/iBook/PowerBook, and so competition there might be embarrassing for Apple. It would, however, be great news for OS X software vendors.

Pip pip!
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dylsexic manupilator
 
 
2005-02-15, 08:08

Looks like Merill Lynch is also joining the Apple-Sony cooperation camp.
linky

Merill Lynch also predicted what turned out to be the the iPod Shuffle and the Mac mini, which could make you go hmmmmm....
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DrGruv
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2005-02-15, 09:16

Sony - Apple Phone?

The phone will carry a name which has already appeared on some 350 million music players over the last 25 years, he said: the Walkman brand of Sony Ericsson's parent company, Sony Corp.


It will play open music file formats such as MP3 and AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), according to Rikko Sakaguchi, Sony Ericsson's head of product and application planning.

Sony Ericsson will unveil the phone next month, and will go on to exhibit it at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany, which opens March 10, Sakaguchi said.

http://playlistmag.com/news/2005/02/...sson/index.php

- Michael Droste Itunes Link Stop By: TrumpetStudio.com or SaveThePlanetSong.org Some Main Gear: AT4050, Dual 1.8 G4, Logic, Waves Plat, Waves SSL, Tritone, URS, PSP, Zebra, BFD, RND, Sony Oxford, Altiverb...
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oldmacfan
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2005-02-15, 11:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by dylsexic manupilator
Looks like Merill Lynch is also joining the Apple-Sony cooperation camp.
linky

Merill Lynch also predicted what turned out to be the the iPod Shuffle and the Mac mini, which could make you go hmmmmm....
Isn't it great when a stock analyst gets into the speculation game...
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thegelding
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2005-02-15, 12:07

and perhaps sony would get to distribute pixar movies next year also...sony has a lot to offer, but apple does too right now (sony probably wishes they did this 2 years ago)...now apple has the number one mp3 player, the number one music download store and the number one animated movie studio (if you count pixar with apple)...along with a rabid fan base, a great os and increasing mind and possibly market share...

should be interesting to see if Jobs get Eisner's job or if he pulls away from disney over the next few weeks

g

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everything is food if you chew hard enough
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Corpus_Callosum
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2005-02-16, 02:48

Quote:
I think it extremely unlikely that Sony will do any sort of deal on Playstation games - they make them far too much money.
And it would make them even more money if those games could be played on Apple gadgets (computers, etc..) as well. So what's the problem?

Quote:
And iPod+iTMS is far too important to Apple in terms of both money and mindshare to be opened up - at least in the short term.
Yes, iPod lock-in to iTMS sells lots of iPods... Opening up iTMS to sony gadgets would introduce competition into the Apple line of music players. However, Apple is close to being called a monopoly now. Soon, they will have to open it up anyway. I can see Apple taking it's time on this one, but it is inevitable that they will do it.

Quote:
On the other hand, if - and it's a big if - Apple have been busy coding Tiger to be compatible with (or at least easily portable to) cell architectures, I can see Apple and Sony cross-licensing OS-X for use in appliances and perhaps Sony's Vaio desktop/laptop ranges - though that last bit could cause some marketing issues. Vaio could be said to sit in the same sort of style niche as iMac/iBook/PowerBook, and so competition there might be embarrassing for Apple.
Embarassing for Apple? I think you are assuming that Sony will out-style Apple which isn't a terribly good assumption. But it's all about $$$ anyway. If Apple can get enough of an OS X premium, it will be a gold mine for them to allow Sony to sell computers. What is the margin on those bits that Sony would ship?
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