Sony suspected in HD DVD death (and parlez-vous geek?)

It's IT Blogwatch: in which we wonder if Sony "bribed" Toshiba to kill HD DVD. Not to mention how to speak geek...

Kiyoshi Takenaka reports

Sony Corp ... said on Wednesday it will sell its microchip production facilities in western Japan to Toshiba Corp ... for 90 billion yen ($835 million), in their latest move to focus on their core businesses ... The equipment will be used by their semiconductor joint venture that will make high-performance Cell chips and RSX graphic chips, both used in Sony's PlayStation 3 game console, as well as other microchips that go into Toshiba products ... comes on the heels of Toshiba's decision on Tuesday to abandon its HD DVD high-definition DVD format, ending a prolonged battle with the Sony-led Blu-ray camp. [more]

Jason Mick calls it, "A new twist":

Many saw Toshiba's willingness to give up on HD DVD as a logical business decision and perhaps an admission of Blu-ray's superiority. However, there might be a little more to the story ... While Toshiba and Sony entered into talks back in October 2007 and reached a tentative agreement to sell the cell facilities, the two companies continued to haggle about the price. Sony's concession of what is considered a favorable price for Toshiba will likely strike many following Toshiba's drop as HD DVD as more than a coincidence. [more]

Anthony Richard Hung wonders if it matters:

Did Sony pay off Toshiba to end the war? ... I am supremely unqualified to make any further judgements ... [but] it would only be a pay off if the $900M price tag is hugely discounted ... Irrespective of whether Sony or did not hasten HD-DVD’s demise (and it seems like there werea whole lot of things that did), at the end of the day, is kind of irrelevant. Many stakeholders were waiting for someone to emerge a winner, and for most lay-folk, I don’t think it really mattered which — only that this format war finish as quickly (or as slowly) as it finally did. [more]

Jordan Ledoux shakes his head:

I find it remarkable that people honestly believe a company like Sony can hide payments of over a half billion dollars from their financial statements to shareholders. Sony won. Get ... over it. [more]

Meanwhile, Staci D. Kramer has this:

With the HD DVD format formally declared dead by Toshiba, Microsoft ... once one of its head cheerleaders, is announcing its own plans: the company will stop production of HD DVD players as an option for the Xbox 360 console. It’s also slashing the price of the remaining units to $49 from $119 ... The console will continue to come with a standard DVD player. No word yet about whether a Blu-Ray version will be offered. [more]

Michael Santo quips, "Took ‘em long enough":

None of this should be a surprise. Obviously with Toshiba dropping HD-DVD, Microsoft was bound to get out. Rumors flew last week that Microsoft was planning an external Blu-ray drive for the Xbox 360, and honestly, it’s an almost certainty ... PR-wise, the best thing Microsoft could do would be to follow Edion’s example by giving everyone who already had an Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive a swap for a new Blu-ray drive. Probability: low. [more]

Huu Nguyen:

Talk about kicking a man when he's down ... Good thing the big M did not decide to throw their weight behind Toshiba by including HD DVD as a drive inside the Xbox 360 in the first place, eh? Well, at least you can purchase an Xbox 360 HD DVD drive on the cheap now - do look out for firesales to be announced after this move. For those who have already picked up the HD DVD drive, fret not - Microsoft will still honor their warranty, although I wonder how much action you're going to see from the now unloved drive. [more]

And finally...

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You too can pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

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