Sony's Connect Co. to hone focus on digital media

Sony Corp. has set up a cross-company working group dubbed Connect Company to focus on the digital media market, the U.S. office of the Japanese electronics giant confirmed Thursday.

The effort will be headed by co-presidents, the team of Koichiro Tsujino, a Sony electronics engineer, and Phil Wiser, chief technology officer for Sony Corp. of America, the Wall Street Journal reported and a Sony spokeswoman confirmed. It will function as a "virtual" company overlaying various groups in the corporation, she said.

Some observers believe that Sony, with its diverse and sometimes redundant products, needs to coordinate its efforts better or risk missing the next generation of mass-market media technology. The inventor of the Walkman has seen Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod Mini become the top-selling digital audio player in Japan in recent months, while its own effort to tie together a digital music strategy consisting of players, an online music service, and PC software, has suffered setbacks.

Improving how SonicStage music-management software works with the San Jose-based Connect Inc. music store is a priority for Connect Company, and to that end it will merge the SonicStage group in Japan with a San Jose software group, the Journal reported.

In a press release announcing Wiser's promotion to CTO, Sony said he would oversee the team responsible for the development of the company's digital services businesses and infrastructure, including Connect Inc. Wiser is also charged with setting the U.S. unit's course in digital rights management and interoperability for digital services and devices, according to the company.

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Elizabeth Heichler

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