Sony Merges Drive Busines With HD DVD Supporter

NEC turns out to be its partner in a rather intriguing development.

Now this comes a bit out of left field: Sony has agreed to merge its optical drive business with one of the principal proponents of HD DVD.

In a move which makes a strange kind of sense when you look at it, the newly formed ‘Sony NEC Optiarc Inc.’ will be 55 per cent owned by Sony, 45 per cent NEC. The new venture hopes to be producing drives as early as this spring.

Now let’s look at the permutations. One: Sony, sensing victory, has taken majority control of one of its largest rivals. Two: Sony is suddenly looking to hedge its bets and back both formats with the continual delays to its PS3 console. Three: Sony is thinking of ditching Blu-ray and swapping over to HD DVD.

Logically conspiracy theory two makes the most sense. A joint venture between two rival next generation standard manufacturers could potentially lead to renewed compatibility attempts or even a shift to a single standard and either would clear up what is fast becoming an almighty mess.

Less concerting would simply be Sony’s decision to licence both standards and hedge its bets by making both Blu-ray and HD DVD drives. With the battle lines so clearly drawn between manufacturers it would only confuse consumers more to see them blurred so close to release.

We pray for common sense, but will it be forthcoming?

Sony UK

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