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Microsoft talks to Sony for Blu-ray in Xbox

Posted: 11 Mar 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Blu-ray? Microsoft Xbox 360? Sony PlayStation?

Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. are in talks that could lead to a version of the Xbox video game console equipped with a Blu-ray high-definition DVD player.

Stan Glasgow, Sony Electronics U.S. president, revealed the discussions at a media dinner last week, according to an account of the event published by London's Financial Times.

Glasgow said his company is also engaged in talks aimed at adding Sony Blu-ray to devices made by Apple Inc., according to the paper.

Microsoft found itself without a high-definition video partner last month after HD DVD developer Toshiba Corp. said it would drop the format. Toshiba's announcement followed commitments by virtually all major Hollywood studios to back Blu-ray.

Days after Toshiba formally pulled the plug on HD DVD, Microsoft said it would discontinue an external Xbox 360 drive that supports the high-definition movie format.

Microsoft had been selling an HD DVD player as a $129 add-on for the Xbox 360. Existing units are now selling for less than half of that on eBay.

The death of HD DVD puts Microsoft in a quandary. Sony's PlayStation 3 console features a built-in Blu-ray player. With HD DVD no longer viable, Microsoft needs to find an alternate high-definition format for the Xbox.

The company could itself move to Blu-ray. But it might also reject its rival's technology and focus instead on offering high-definition downloads through its Xbox Live online content service.

Microsoft already sells a limited selection of HD television and movie downloads on Xbox Live, which boasts more than 10 million members.

In the meantime, Microsoft has said that HD DVD's discontinuation won't hurt Xbox 360 salesinsisting that it's games, and not movies, that dictate console sales.

- Paul McDougall

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