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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 6, 2006 at 2:21 PM

PS3 console delayed, Variety says

Variety (sub. required) has a fascinating interview with Howard Stringer, the chairman and CEO of Sony and one of the most interesting corporate chiefs out there. In a media Q&A he held in January for the Consumer Electronics Show, he came across as charming, humble and candid. He can be ruthless as well — just look at his recent decision to slash 10,000 jobs within the company.

Stringer has a bit to say about Microsoft, particularly in the high-stakes next-generation video format battle. Microsoft is lined up in the HD-DVD camp, while Sony is betting a good chunk of its future on Blu-Ray technology. Sony is including a Blu-Ray player in its PlayStation 3 console, which, according to Variety, will be delayed until the end of this year while Sony “fine-tunes” the chips related to that player’s capability. Microsoft, by the way, did not include an HD-DVD player in the Xbox 360, but is promising an add-on player will hit the market soon.

From the article:

Stringer, and just about every other media exec, studio chief and retailer, fears a Betamax-VHS redux — a format war that would irritate and confuse consumers. After all, if folks don’t know which player to buy, they might walk out empty-handed. “If that happens,” one top entertainment exec quips, “I think someone from Wal-Mart is going to take a gun and shoot one of them.”

“Once Microsoft picked sides it was clear we were going to be in a battle royale,” Stringer says, vowing to protect his turf. “We won’t be stampeded” by Microsoft into rushing decisions “that are there forever.”

One strange twist in the battle is that Toshiba is working with Sony and IMB to produce the cell chip that’s the foundation of Blu-ray — a topsy-turvy scenario that only serves to underscore the contortions Stringer finds himself performing these days. “One day my enemy is my enemy,” he says. “The next day the enemy is my friend.”

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