By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: The local champion of HD-DVD technology, Toshiba, moved its headquarters to a new address in Sydney’s North Ryde this morning, but the company has kept to the opposite side of Talavera Road from neighbour and arch-rival, Sony Australia.

Toshiba Australia officially opened its new North Ryde offices this morning, bringing together three of its divisions and 403 of the company’s 634 Australian staff under the one roof.

Although the new address, 12-24 Talavera Road, is just down the road from Sony’s Australian headquarters (located at 33-39 Talavera Road) the companies are unlikely to be amicable neighbours, having now entered the opening stages of a format war with their competing next generation high definition optical disc formats, HD-DVD and Blu-ray.

Toshiba recently launched Australia’s first HD-DVD product, the Qosmio G30 entertainment notebook (RRP $5,499), which was followed closely by Sony with Australia’s first Blu-ray product – the Vaio AR18 notebook computer – launched at the same price.

The coming months and possibly years will see both technologies battle for supremacy in not only personal computers but the audio visual market, with each hoping to replace the DVD as the format of choice for high definition consumer entertainment.

Toshiba’s new 5,660 square metre, state-of-the-art Talavera Road premises were declared open at 10:30am this morning when the Minister for Communication, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, cut the ribbon and unveiled a ceremonial plaque.

The new offices house Toshiba’s information systems division, which manages the brand’s notebook PC and projector products, the electronic imaging division, which manages photocopiers and multi-function devices, and the company’s medical, marketing, sales and service divisions. Toshiba’s 50 call centre sales and service staff have also been moved to the North Ryde office.

“Australia is an important strategic region for Toshiba, which is evident in our investment in research and development and employee numbers,” said Toshiba Australia managing director, Hidehto Murato.

“This is the first time since 1981 that we have been able to integrate many of our divisions into the one space, which will ultimately pay dividends in terms of greater communication, creativity and the sharing of ideas.”