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IBM To Sell Sony Multimedia CD-ROM Players in U.S.

November 9, 1992

TOKYO (AP) _ International Business Machines Corp. plans to sell handheld multimedia devices produced by Japan’s Sony Corp., a move analysts said could strengthen each company in an area in which it is weak.

The U.S. computer maker plans to sell the compact-disc read only memory (CD-ROM) players as a package with its own software. The Sony-brand units display text and graphics and also play high-quality sound.

Makoto Araki, a Sony spokesman, said Sony Corp. of America announced an agreement for IBM to sell new multimedia CD-ROM players on Sept. 30 in Boston, during an exhibition of the devices. At the time, the news drew little attention.

Sony already has started exporting CD-ROM players to the U.S. from Japan.

Analysts said the tie-up would bolster each company in an area it hopes to develop in the future.

″IBM can further gain ground in the consumer products field, while Sony can strengthen its relatively soft computer field,″ said Hitomi Hashimoto, an electronics analyst with Kleinwort Benson.

Araki and an IBM official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to provide other details, including future sales estimates.

Sony unveiled the long-awaited multimedia player, which sells for $1,000, in September. It is about the size of a hardback book, weighs just under two pounds and has a back-lit, flip-up screen and a keyboard.

Viewers use the keyboard to interact with special multimedia CDs. For example, they can answer questions posed by an instructional CD.

Sony has said more than 60 CD titles will be introduced this year for the machine. Among them are five discs, at $50 each, produced by IBM.

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