Sony, AU Optronics in talks on OLED TV production: report
By Tim Kelly and Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Sony Corp is in talks with Taiwan's AU Optronics Corp to jointly produce next-generation OLED televisions, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported, positioning itself for the post-liquid crystal display (LCD) TV market.
A commitment by Sony to a technology that Korean rivals Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are promoting would more clearly define the battle lines over what is seen as the next generation of TV sets to replace LCDs.
Both Sony and AU Optronics declined to comment on the report, which comes after Sony's new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, last week suggested he was open to cooperation in new TV technologies as he outlined a turnaround strategy for his loss-making company.
An industry source told Reuters earlier this month that there was talk Sony was considering a tie-up with AU Optronics.
"We know that Sony will have to form some kind of alliance with a third party since it would be difficult for it to capture more share in the OLED TV area alone. It's not a surprise if it is considering a tie-up (with AU)," Nobuo Kurahashi, an analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities, said on Wednesday.
"For Taiwan and Japan, their interests coincide. If they don't do anything, there will always be a gap in market share," he added, pointing to competition from South Korea.
Both Samsung and LG in January displayed prototype 55-inch OLED (organic light emitting diode) screens - which boast sharper images and do not need backlighting - at the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas.
Sony, which pioneered the technology with the world's first OLED TV in 2007 halted production of the $2,000 screens for consumers in 2010 amid a global downturn, focusing instead on 3D. Sony still makes OLED screens costing as much as $26,000 for high-end business customers. Continued...