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Sony Online Service: iTunes rival attempts to Save Our Sales

Sony has announced Sony Online Service, a planned online content delivery service taking on iTunes and rescuing the company's reeling bottom line

Sony has announced an online store selling music, films, games and ebooks. The iTunes rival is tentatively titled Sony Online Service and aims to recue Sony's struggling finances. SOS is an apt name.

BusinessWeek reports the intiative was announced at a management strategy meeting in Tokyo today. As well as selling content, the store will allow users to upload pictures and videos to personal accounts.

The plan is to rope in existing Sony customers, with their Cyber-shot cameras, Bravia tellies and PlayStation games consoles. With hardware sales suffering in the global economic climate, under Welsh wizard Sir Howard Stringer, Sony is looking to alchemise this content and software into a healthier bottom line.

It's certainly worked for the PlayStation Network. As of yesterday, UK and European PS3 owners can download films to their console and PSP. The service is set to bring in a whopping $500m this year. Sony Online Service will be based on PSN, and Sony hasn't ruled out migrating PSN users to the new service.

Our question is why it's taken so long for Sony to make this move? Unlike Apple, it has a massive content arm producing films and music. It has an enormous customer base with the Walkman and PlayStation brands. You'd think Sony would have had an online store years ago.

Hopefully the lateness of Sony's arrival to the sphere will mean the company learns lessons from existing services and from its own PlayStation Network. Which means: no DRM and no regionalisation, please. Thanks.