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Stringer gets excited about PSN

Quite important, he reckons.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

The expansion of the PlayStation Network, which will enable users to download games, movies and music for multiple devices, will propel Sony into a software powerhouse, said CEO Sir Howard Stringer, reports.

Sir Howard told The Financial Times that Sony would focus on innovation and shift to digitisation from hardware as pillars of growth as it nears the end of its three-year restructuring plan.

"Over the next two years we will find ourselves in competition with Apple and Microsoft," he said. "If we can connect the dots we have a great advantage over consumer electronics rivals and some advantage over Apple and Microsoft."

Sony has been criticised for taking too long to launch an integrated music, movies and games content site, giving Apple ample time to strengthen its video content and launch Apple TV.

Under Stringer's tenure, the company's core electronics division has staged a recovery, although its key games division remains in the red due to lacklustre sales and high investment costs for the PlayStation 3.

"The next cycle is actual innovation," said Sir Howard, pointing to the company’s new organic light-emitting diode (OLED) televisions, which are just 3mm thick.

"When you look at OLED, your impulse is to say 'wow'. We need that reaction from people at Sony - it's a statement of confidence, that there is a path to somewhere else," he said.

Although OLED is not exclusive Sony technology, Sony is the first company globally to commercialise OLED TVs, which are likely to have a monopoly on the next generation of flat-screen televisions for the forseeable future. Toshiba recently shelved plans to produce OLED TVs by 2009, due to falling prices for liquid-crystal display televisions and the massive costs of investing in equipment capable of churning out larger panels.

As previously reported, Sony is on course to post a 5 per cent operating profit in its fiscal year ending in March.

Some analysts have speculated that Sony's CEO would step down should the electronics group achieve its full-year targets, but Stringer told The Financial Times that he would remain at the company for three more years.

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