Sony, Panasonic, others to launch cross-platform e-book service, later this year

Don't look now, but there's some major synergy going on in Japan's e-book market, now that Sony, Panasonic, Rakuten and Kinokuniya have all joined forces on a new digital quest. Today, the quartet of companies announced they're working on a system that would allow users to purchase and read content across their respective e-readers, injecting the e-cosmos with a heavy dose of free love and good vibes. Under the new service, customers would be able to manage their downloads and browse bestsellers within a centralized web-based marketplace, regardless of the device they go to bed with every night. Because within this new universe, there would be no "mine," "yours," or "theirs" -- all will be one and one will be all. The chieftains have already held powows with a handful of digital publishers, though they expect to have more friends around the campfire by the time the project launches later this year.