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Sony chews the Blu-ray fat with Microsoft

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Sony has confirmed that it's in talks with Microsoft about supporting Blu-ray Disc. Apparently, it has also been chatting to Apple, even though the Mac maker is already a Blu-ray Disc backer.

The Japanese electronics giant’s US president, Stan Glasgow, told the Financial Times this week that Sony is talking to both companies. He didn't explicitly state that the conversation with Microsoft is about offering a Blu-ray add-on for the Xbox 360, but what else could they be discussing?

Until now, Xbox 360 owners could only play HD DVDs, by buying an add-on drive. Following Toshiba's decision to abandon HD DVD production, Microsoft canned that peripheral. It has often said in the past that it will offer a Blu-ray add-on if the punters want one.

It’s too early to say exactly how Blu-ray will be brought to the Xbox 360, if at all. Most likely, gamers may be offered an external Blu-ray drive. But now there's a clear winner in the format war, Microsoft might well decide to integrate a Blu-ray drive into a future version of the console.

Glasgow told the FT that Sony is also talking to with Apple, presumably in the hope the Mac maker, which has been a member of the Blu-ray Disc Association since March 2005, to start offering computers with integrated BD drives.

Unlike Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Glasgow believes Blu-ray isn’t being threatened by online downloads and streaming because that medium's popularity will take years to grow. Instead, he expects Blu-ray Discs to succeed thanks to falling player prices that he claims could see a standalone Blu-ray player cost just $300 (£150/€200) by December and $200 by the end of 2009.

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