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Sony to support AAC -- heck not to freeze over

Marc Perton

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When Sony execs recently announced that the company was prepping to take on the iPod with new software, a download service and new digital audio players, we didn't expect the company's first move to be to announce support for the AAC audio format. But plans by Sony to include the format in the latest version of its Sonic Stage software -- and, presumably, in future portable players, as well -- makes perfect sense. 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 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.

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