We've heard rumblings for some time now that Microsoft is planning a Blu-ray drive for its Xbox 360 console, but no official word has been available on the issue - other than a generic "Microsoft is considering all possibilities". According to the Financial Times, though, Sony Electronics' US President, Stan Glasgow, has confirmed that the company is in talks with Microsoft in reference to offering a Blu-ray drive for the latter company's console.
Since the demise of HD DVD, and Microsoft ceasing the production of its drive, speculation has been rife that a Blu-ray drive would be coming. And, though Microsoft had been pushing HD downloads on Live Marketplace, it's a system that's still in its infancy.
However, though Sony might see it as a useful way to help drive mass market adoption, there are several potential obstacles both parties would have to negotiate. From Sony's perspective it seems counter-intuitive to offer Microsoft a bargaining chip against its own PlayStation 3, whose PS3 playback is a major fillip now that Blu-ray has won the "format war", while Microsoft continues to focus primarily on the Xbox 360's gaming attributes above anything else. When you consider how poorly suited the Xbox 360's noisy nature is to home entertainment functions, it's hardly surprising.
Glasgow also hinted that Sony is in talks with Apple to possibly bring Blu-ray drives to Macs in the near future. We suggested that the 24in iMac was practically crying out for an HD drive of some sort when we reviewed its 20in counterpart and there are doubtless many out there who agree. Personally, though, I still won't fully believe either of these rumours until I see them come to fruition.
Financial Times (sign-up required).