A couple of weeks back, Apple kicked the Sony ebooks reader off its app store - a childish and unnecessary move, and just the sort of tat to which you'd expect a tit.
And here comes the tit, with Sony threatening to pull its catalogue from the iTunes store:
Michal Ephraim, chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment, spoke with Australia's The Age about the impending launch of its Music Unlimited service in that country. Music Unlimited debuted in late 2010, and Sony hopes the streaming subscription product will take on Apple's iTunes by offering a different approach to digital music sales.Music Unlimited might "take on" iTunes, in the sort of way that radio play competes with milkmen whistling, or an octopus takes on the concept of cottages.
Of course, Sony aren't quite so silly as to actually say they're going now - iTunes accounts for 25% of all US music sales, online and offline, and even Sony know in their hearts that if their songs aren't iTunes, customers will look at other tunes, not other online market places. But, oh, a man can dream:
But in the future, Ephraim hopes that iTunes isn't even part of the equation. He questioned whether Sony would need to partner with Apple and sell music through iTunes if its new service gains enough traction.The "holding to ransom" by Apple, you'll remember, involved building a music store and player infrastructure that created a digital sales business at a time when the only practical way of getting hold of music online was to not pay for it. Perhaps when Apple applied the lifebelt they pushed it on too tightly.
"If we do [get mass take-up], then does Sony Music need to provide content to iTunes?" he said. "Currently we do. We have to provide it to iTunes as that's the format right now."
He continued: "Publishers are being held ransom by Apple and they are looking for other delivery systems, and we are waiting to see what the next three to five years will hold."