Sony has established Connect Company, a new division tasked with developing products and services to rival Apple’s iPod and iTunes. “Connect Company was established on Nov. 1 and brings together Sony experts from Japan and the U.S. The division will enter into operations early next year and will eventually employ 300 to 400 workers. Engineers will work on new portable audio players equipped with hard disk drives like the iPod or with computer memory chips. The first product is expected to hit shelves by the end of next year. Connect Company will also operate music download services similar to iTunes that will be personal computer- and cellphone-compatible. In the future, the division is expected to offer video and game distribution services.”