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Friday, March 07, 2008, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Sony in Blu-ray talks with Apple, Microsoft

With its victory last month in the high-definition DVD format war, Sony is now said to be entertaining talks with rivals Apple and Microsoft over supplying its Blu-ray drives for future generations of the pair's electronics devices.

Microsoft has thus far backed Toshiba’s HD DVD format and offered an HD DVD drive that can be plugged into the Xbox 360, while Apple has remained relatively neutral, patiently waiting for the battle to resolve itself of its own volition.

The Financial Times is now citing Sony Electronics chief executive Stan Glasgow — the same executive who recently vouched for Sony-branded Apple TV competitor — as saying talks are underway with Microsoft over adopting Blu-ray in the 360, making it more competitive with the Sony PS3, but at the same time generating incremental revenues for the Japanese electronics maker.

"Mr. Glasgow, speaking at a media dinner, added that discussions were also taking place with Apple, which has not offered Blu-ray drives on any of its computers so far and has focused on digital media via downloads and streaming through devices such as its Apple TV," the financial paper said.

The report adds corroboration to an AppleInsider report from last Friday, which noted that Apple and Sony were in discussions over slot-loading Blu-ray drives for a future generation of Apple's MacBook Pro notebook series.

People claiming to be familiar with the matter had said that Sony is prepared to deliver Blu-ray Combo Drives capable of reading and writing CD media, but not writing Blu-ray DVD media. Apple, however, is said to have only expressed interest in a SuperDrive variant that could also write Blu-ray discs.

Should Apple reach an agreement to offer the Sony drives as part of its Mac platform this year, it's likely to do so only as a build-to-order option. As noted by the Times, most models currently fetch around $399.

Glasgow, however, noted that prices should fall to $299 by this holiday shopping season and to about $200 next year.