Sony to Abandon iTunes?

Sony music artists may leave Apple's iTunes store and the company may withhold its iOS games as payback for Apple blocking its Sony Reader application.

The application blocking, which affected not just Sony, required third-party apps (mostly publishers) to go through Apple's iTunes store to sell subscriptions or publications or be barred from Apple's platform that works on iPhones, iPods and iPads. However, now Sony will unveil a new music streaming service called Music Unlimited, an Australian publication reported.

The Sony service is now available in Europe and could be coming to Australia -- and likely North America, if Sony decides to compete head-to-head with Apple.

''If we do [get mass take up] then does Sony Music need to provide content to iTunes?'' Michael Ephraim, chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment, told The Age. ''Currently we do. We have to provide it to iTunes as that's the format right now. . . .Publishers are being held to ransom by Apple and they are looking for other delivery systems, and we are waiting to see what the next three to five years will hold.''

Ephraim also said that Sony would open up the system to new devices and platforms, in contrast to Apples closed iOS system.

While some are already calling this a big mistake by Sony, it could easily just be a power play by Sony execs to see if they can get Apple to cave on their iTunes rules. Sony likely has no intention of launching a service in North America, but that's no reason to simply hand over Apple any of its profits.

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