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Old 04-14-2012, 07:43 PM   #1
SeaKing
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How the Tech Parade Passed Sony By - ?the end of Sony eReaders, the end of Sony?

Are we seeing the end of Sony?

How the Tech Parade Passed Sony By
By HIROKO TABUCHI
Published: April 14, 2012
New York Times

"“The time for Sony to change is now,” said Mr. Hirai, who formally took up the C.E.O. post on April 1. He posed for the cameras, one finger held high in a No. 1 sign. “I believe Sony can change,” he said.

Outside Sony — and inside it, too — not everyone is quite so sure."

"No one was terribly surprised last week when Sony announced that its losses this year would be worse than it had expected. Sony, after all, hasn’t turned a profit since 2008. It now expects to lose $6.4 billion this year. The reason is plain: Sony hasn’t had a hit product in years. "

“At this point, Sony just needs some strategy, any strategy, because that is better than no strategy at all,” said Sea-Jin Chang, chairman for business policy at the National University of Singapore and author of “Sony vs. Samsung: The Inside Story of the Electronics Giants’ Battle for Global Supremacy.”

(more)
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/te....html?_r=1&hpw

Somewhere in there are eReaders. Well I hope there are eReaders.
Sony was pretty much the first significant player in the field, like so many other fields where it has lost dominance and now maybe it has just plain lost out.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:45 PM   #2
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I remember Sony's first ereader. Picture a clamshell form factor. You can see it here:
http://www.sony.net/Fun/design/histo...1990/dd-1.html

Although, I am a bit confused. It claims to be from 1990, and I could swear that I first saw it about 1987.

Anyway, I think Sony's downfall began when they bought Columbia Music. They began to worry about their empire and not about the consumer/products. They worried about illegal copying of music, and copy-protection features crept into their products. They tried to lock up the total ecosystem, so we saw proprietary mini-disk formats, memory sticks and more.They bet the company on the PS3, it was a good machine, but late and expensive.

Right now, Apple has their position in the industry. Sony comes out with products after everyone else*. They need to start thinking about how they want to create new markets, not follow the phones, laptops, computers, game machines, cameras and TVs of everyone else. There is nothing wrong with the stuff they make, but they sell premium priced goods that are quite similar to the stuff of everyone else.

* I know they have been a pioneer in ebooks. However, I tie this to development in the 1980s leading to 1990's diskman. It's not really a recent innovation.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:49 PM   #3
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Sony still believes their products to be worthy of the premium price they charge. I like some of their products (have one of their TV's, their Playstation consoles, PSP, and their readers), but I'll be first to admit that they are often-times WAY too expensive out of the gate.

Quit with the Sony-tax, and people may be more attracted to them again.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:54 PM   #4
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Part of the trouble is that all their products are separate.

Say you buy the new Sony portable gaming device, the Vita. Can you read e-books on it from the Sony e-book store? Nope. Play games from the Sony Android store from their Tablets? Nope. Or vice-versa, can you play PS1 games you bought for your PS3 on your Sony phone or tablet? Nope (though I think you can buy them again from a different store)

Sony needs to work as one company, not dozens of them, with one Sony ecosystem. But they simply won't. The last CEO tried it, but couldn't get them to co-operate, and this one likely won't get them to do it either, even though he is a pretty sharp guy
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyR View Post
Say you buy the new Sony portable gaming device, the Vita. Can you read e-books on it from the Sony e-book store? Nope. Play games from the Sony Android store from their Tablets? Nope. Or vice-versa, can you play PS1 games you bought for your PS3 on your Sony phone or tablet? Nope (though I think you can buy them again from a different store)

Sony needs to work as one company, not dozens of them, with one Sony ecosystem. But they simply won't. The last CEO tried it, but couldn't get them to co-operate, and this one likely won't get them to do it either, even though he is a pretty sharp guy
Doesn't Chrysler still do the same thing with its various units? Play every single unit against each other *and* the competition in some kind of bizarre self-inflicted Darwinism?
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:15 PM   #6
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There definitely is more to it than price. Sony did make very beautiful, functional, and innovative products. I have one of the SZ series laptops. It was way, way ahead of its time. Extremely light and thin, carbon fibre shell, good battery life. Then innovation stopped and greed took over. They overloaded their PCs with adware which slowed them to a crawl, and the average user didn't know how to remove these useless programs. They fed the user a steady diet of incremental spec upgrades, instead of new designs (sure reminds me of some other high flyers today!). We bought a small 11.1" laptop for my wife later, the build quality is lousy.

They wasted billions on Blu-Ray (which is dead in the water due to direct downloads and streaming) and the TV section went downhill, too. They just bought the panels and slapped their brand name on them.

A sad story, but I don't see them turning it around. Japan in general seems to be full of companies who couldn't turn the corner when the tide turned and they lost their original competitive edge. I see same thing happening for industrial machinery, too.

Last edited by HansTWN; 04-15-2012 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 04-14-2012, 11:29 PM   #7
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Anyway, I think Sony's downfall began when they bought Columbia Music. They began to worry about their empire and not about the consumer/products.
Spoken like a person who waited for the Minidisc to become the viable live recording and storage medium it should have been. Then flash recorders and PMPs woke everyone from the spell of arbitrary obstacles between them and their own files.

Sony has never recovered from the time they wasted crippling hardware innovation with in-house content protection. And they didn't even succeed, as evidenced by the spread of piracy through homebrew.

Which is a shame, because even now, their hardware can be glorious.

For people who favor immersive complexity over attractive simplicity, the Vita has to be the most perfect gaming handheld ever made. I even liked their robots. Years after Sony stopped development, a friend of mine still loves his Aibo.
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Old 04-14-2012, 11:54 PM   #8
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Well, I just purchased a Sony Bravia 55" smart TV with 3D. Sony still make arguably the best flat screen TV's currently.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:00 AM   #9
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Remember the Walkman? That was the iPod of its time. I got one that was barely larger than a cassette tape. Pretty remarkablei in those days.

I have a Bravia tv. It's an excellent tv. I still don't see one with a noticeably better picture that doesn't cost 2x what I paid 3yrs ago.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:34 AM   #10
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Remember the Walkman? That was the iPod of its time. I got one that was barely larger than a cassette tape. Pretty remarkablei in those days.

I have a Bravia tv. It's an excellent tv. I still don't see one with a noticeably better picture that doesn't cost 2x what I paid 3yrs ago.
Yes, we have 2 Bravia TVs. Excellent value at the time. But would I buy Sony now, if they have to be replaced?
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:00 AM   #11
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Would I buy another Sony?

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Yes, we have 2 Bravia TVs. Excellent value at the time. But would I buy Sony now, if they have to be replaced?
I, also, have a Sony Bravia t.v., and it's just fine. I've got a Sony Ereader, too, but we also have, in the house, a Kobo Touch Ereader. If my Sony broke down, I think I'd get another Kobo. It's just as good and cheaper. It accepts the same Ebook formats as the Sony, so why not? As for t.v., I have no loyalty to Sony. Seems like every time I buy a new t.v., I buy a different brand, depending upon what's on sale when i need one!
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:20 AM   #12
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Samsung's TVs are better and cost less than Sony.
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:13 AM   #13
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Their cameras are nice (the alpha and nex ones, I've never used a Sony compact so couldn't say for those).
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:16 AM   #14
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They are doing very well in the camera industry making top CMOS sensors for the flagship Nikon cameras. That's about all I know of Sony
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:27 AM   #15
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I still like the PS3. I've never had a need to think about anything else for gaming. I wish it had succeeded in being a very good media player as well. In the end we bought a Boxee and the PS3 is no longer used as a media centre.

I thought Samsung was the go these days for TVs though. When it came to buying one, I felt that the Sonys had put a premium on the name hoping that the name itself was sufficient differentiator.
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