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Sony, Samsung stick to memory deal

The consumer-electronics rivals agree to expand a licensing agreement in a move to further the reach of the Memory Stick memory card.

Sony and Samsung Electronics have agreed to expand a licensing agreement surrounding the Memory Stick removable card format, a move that could help broaden its reach into different products.

Consumer-electronics rivals Sony and Samsung announced Wednesday that they are expanding a product-development agreement made in 2001. The products, which include DVD players, mobile phones, PCs and televisions, use the Memory Stick removable flash memory card format that Sony introduced late in 1998. Under the revised agreement, Samsung will begin the manufacture and sale of Memory Stick cards later this quarter and the bundling of cards with compatible products using the Samsung brand.

Removable flash memory cards are solid-state memory used in portable consumer-electronics and PC products, and are known for not skipping when a device using the media is jostled.

Though the two companies are archrivals, the pairing of their product lines and manufacturing capabilities makes them formidable partners.

"Together with media, the expansion of Samsung's lines of digital cameras, mobile phones and other Memory Stick-compatible products will enable Memory Stick's 'Connected World' to expand, allowing customers to enjoy a broad range of content and services through a diverse array of devices," Sony COO Kunitake Ando said in a statement.

As of April, shipments of Memory Stick cards and products using the cards reached 40 million units.

Sony has been working to expand the influence of the Memory Stick format, in an attempt to improve its position in the crowded flash memory card market. The consumer-electronics and entertainment conglomerate announced in mid-June that Memory Stick partner SanDisk was broadening a previous partnership to cover some of the new removable flash memory cards that have already been developed.

Other card formats include Secure Digital, xD Picture Card, MultiMediaCard, SmartMedia and CompactFlash.