Sony To Ditch iTunes? Sony Exec Says Apple Holding Publishers 'Ransom'

2010 was the year iTunes got The Beatles. Will 2011 be the year iTunes loses Avril Lavigne, Shakira, Christina Aguilera, and Bruce Springsteen?

Though it's not likely to happen that soon, according to The Age, Sony is considering abandoning iTunes altogether.

The Age writes,

Sony has signalled it may withdraw its artists from Apple's iTunes store and withhold its games from the iPhone in a sign the two companies are on the brink of all-out war.

Sony plans to open a competitor to iTunes, a music streaming service called Music Unlimited, in Australia soon.

''Publishers are being held to ransom by Apple and they are looking for other delivery systems, and we are waiting to see what the next three to five years will hold," Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Michael Ephraim told The Age. He added, ''If we do [get mass take up] then does Sony Music need to provide content to iTunes?''

Sony rolled out Music Unlimited, its iTunes rival, in September of last year.

CNET observes, "Sony's eventual goal with Music Unlimited is to bring the streaming tracks to a slew of devices. Currently, the service works with the company's line of 2010 HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and PlayStation 3, among other products."

Read the full story on The Age.