Wow! (updated) [9:52 pm]
A surprising announcement out of Sony, particularly since Apple’s FairPlay is not part of the deal: Sony bites music bullet, opts for Apple compatibility
The behemoth Japanese conglomerate, which once controlled the portable music market, announced Tuesday that the company’s data compression technology would be compatible with a number of rival formats, including Apple’s format of choice, AAC.
In the past, Sony has fiercely held to its own Atrac system. By switching to a technology that supports AAC, Sony appears to be acknowledging Apple’s dominance in the digital music playing market, say analysts.
[...] Sony’s new management system will allow iPod users to swap some of their music to a Sony Walkman, but only songs they ripped from CDs.
After all, the PSP — not to mention most Sony Ericsson musicphones — already supports AAC, and Sony was one of the developers (along with AT&T, Dolby and others) of the format in the first place. However, that hasn’t stopped various pundits from concluding that Sony’s AAC support marks some kind of victory for the company that leads the market for portable media players (or as PortalPlayer likes to call them, “our biggest customer”). But despite headlines such as “Sony bows to Apple format,” which appeared on Asahi.com earlier today, Sony will not be supporting Apple’s FairPlay DRM, so iTunes-purchased tracks will remain iPod-only. And, chances are, despite the AAC support, Sony’s products will still be Sonic Stage-only, so you can probably forget about using iTunes with your next-gen Bean. Now, move along. There’s nothing going on here.