Blockbuster: Sony Delays Release of PlayStation 3

I guess we all saw this one coming: Sony on Wednesday delayed the release of its next-generation PlayStation 3 (PS3) video game system by about six months, from early 2006 to November 2006. The company blamed the console's delays on a delay in the PS3's Blu-ray optical drive copy protection scheme, which won't be finalized until April.

"I'd like to apologize for the delay," Ken Kutaragi, head of Sony's video games division, said during a hastily organized press conference. "I have been cautious because many people in various areas are banking on the potential of Blu-ray."

The delay means that Microsoft could have the next-generation video game market all to itself for a year or more. Microsoft's Xbox 360 shipped in November 2005 in three major markets--North America, Europe, and Japan--almost simultaneously, though it was plagued by supply problems. Now, Microsoft will own the next-generation market for the rest of the year. The company says that Xbox 360 production should reach full speed soon, and new game titles are shipping each month.

For Sony, the delay is an embarrassment and a potential business disaster, and it proves that the company's previously impervious PlayStation business isn't immune to the ills that have seized the rest of the company. In order to recoup lost momentum, Sony says it will make one million PS3 consoles available for sale each month beginning in November, and the company plans to sell 6 million consoles by March 2007.

Because Sony is a Japanese company, it typically launches products first in Japan, followed by other markets. However, this time the company will launch PS3 simultaneously in North America, Europe, and Japan, as Microsoft did last year.

Judge Orders Google to Hand Over Data to DOJ

After the US Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed to reduce the number of search records it was seeking from Internet search giant Google, a federal judge on Tuesday indicated that he would order the company to comply. The DOJ originally requested the information from Google and several of its rivals to measure the effectiveness of the Child Online Protection Act, a law that shields children from explicitly sexual material on the Internet.

"I am going to grant some relief to the government," said US District Court Judge James Ware. The DOJ was originally seeking one week's worth of Google searches, which could have amounted to billions of queries. But over time, the DOJ has reduced that number, and on Tuesday, said it would be satisfied with results that included 50,000 Web site addresses and 5000 search queries. Of those, the DOJ said it would review 10,000 Web site addresses and 1000 queries.

Although Google expressed concerns about its users' privacy, those concerns are likely a ruse, as the search results won't provide the DOJ with any information that would identify the individuals who performed the searches. What the company was really worried about, apparently, was that users, perceiving Google working closely with the government, would curtail their Google searching, thinking they were being monitored.