Sony and Microsoft to team up?

One for the “rumour and speculation” file: Yahoo! News suggests that Microsoft is considering climbing into bed with Sony in order to challenge Apple’s dominance of the digital music market.

It’s a fairly flimsy story and may well be completely wrong-headed, but such a move *would* make sense for both firms. Sony would benefit from the various Windows Media-powered online shops such as Napster (and Microsoft’s enviable marketing clout), while Microsoft would benefit from its software being on hardware from one of the world’s biggest consumer electronics firms. It’s not as if Sony and MS are at war, either: Sony’s Vaio PCs are a common sight at MS product launches, and while the two firms may be bitter rivals in the gaming arena there’s no such conflict in music.

Such a move might also solve Sony’s split personality on digital entertainment: while its hardware division wants to sell as many machines as possible, its entertainment division isn’t a big fan of DRM-free formats such as MP3. Adopting Windows Media could keep both sides of the firm happy by expanding Sony’s potential audience without dumping Digital Rights Management protection.