Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Sony Already Lost Media War to Apple? 325

Posted by Zonk
from the tech-products-fight dept.
Declan McCullagh writes "Sony's Walkman was the king of media players. Now Apple's iPod is, and Sony Connect was a flop. But Sony's problems may soon be even bigger: the company is having a remarkably difficult time coordinating software development across different divisions and continents, and some managers are worried that things may be getting worse. Will Apple's recent forays into the living room create even more of a problem for Sony?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sony Already Lost Media War to Apple?

Comments Filter:
  • by Golias (176380) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:27PM (#14837921)
    I love my Apple-centric media room, don't get me wrong, but Apple makes two things: computers and MP3 players.

    Okay, and now a crappy $300 stereo for the den.

    Sony is a player in almost every personal electronics market there is, with the possible exception of "massage wand" marital aids. They can afford to lag behind in one or two market segments for a few years and bounce back.
    • I dunno... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:29PM (#14837948)
      Sony is a player in almost every personal electronics market there is, with the possible exception of "massage wand" marital aids. They can afford to lag behind in one or two market segments for a few years and bounce back.

      You can afford to behave as stupidly as Sony has for only so long in today's marketplace. If they don't split up their conglomerate into separate entities that can actually innovate and compete without interfering with each other, the market will do it for them.
      • Re:I dunno... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Golias (176380)
        I think that rather then split up, they need to do the opposite.

        If they get their company to work together better, they become the 800-pound gorilla that they are naturally set up to be.
        • Re:I dunno... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rimbo (139781)
          I'm astonished your post isn't at +5 yet.

          There was a point we were talking about possibly putting our technology [kiyon.com] onto handheld devices. (We were way too late to be able to hit the DS' launch date, which is a true tragedy.) But the problem with Sony, our Japanese rep explained to us, was the way the company was structured: Even though our contact knew the CEOs of both companies well, that wasn't sufficient with Sony because of the independent nature of the silos.

          It'd be one thing if the independent pieces
    • by shotfeel (235240) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:30PM (#14837953)
      True. Anyone remember what happened when Apple tried to get into the game console market? If "Pippin" means nothing to you, don't worry about it.

      Of course that was before the Second Coming of Jobs.
    • by NDPTAL85 (260093) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:35PM (#14837997)
      Did you know that with all the various products that Sony sells that the Playstation division is basically carrying the entire company? And if the PS3 doesn't do well vs the XBox 360 and Nintendo Revolution the company itself may go bankrupt?

      Sony keeps trying to force unattractive standards on the market. From the Memory Stick, to Betamax to Blu-Ray it just never fucknig seems to learn its lesson about using open standards. That pisses people off and its why their consumer electronics division is getting its butt kicked by Apple and Samsung.
      • I think you hit the nail on the head; I would say that I don't own any Sony gear, but that's not entirely true. I have one of their little MiniDV camcorders, because it uses a standard format (MiniDV) and was the best thing I could get for the price at Best Buy when my Panasonic died. But I'd never touch one of their digital cameras with that memory format, and certainly not an MP3 player from them.

        It's too bad, because I feel like they're a company that has just great ideas, but then takes those same ideas
      • by ackerholm (896313) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @07:28PM (#14838968)
        "Did you know that with all the various products that Sony sells that the Playstation division is basically carrying the entire company?" ..and you can of course point to a source for this "fact".

        This piece seems to suggest you're lying: http://www.forbes.com/home/feeds/afx/2005/10/27/af x2302512.html [forbes.com]

        Operating profit for Sony march-september 2005: 50.98 billion yen
        Operating profit for Sony gaming division: 2.3 billion yen

        Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you like. - Mark Twain
    • I usually figure Sony's second or third best in any category. (With a couple exceptions.) Regardless of what catagory it is.

      Which is a winning strategy: I don't have to research, since I know Sony will be among the best in any category. If I really want the best, I can figure out which specialist it is, but otherwise I can pick Sony.
      • Not anymore.

        What you are describing is a marketdroid's wet dream: Complete, total, utterly mindless, brand identification.

        It is the only reason that Sony has held on so long.

        • Re:Used to be (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Golias (176380) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @06:01PM (#14838261)
          Why not anymore?

          Sony isn't the best at anything, and is overpriced at everything, but if you don't feel like doing any market research, buy a Sony and you will do okay.

          - The Sony Cybershot is a pretty good camera.
          - The Sony Receivers are feature-rich, support lots of inputs, and sound good.
          - The Sony DVD player is a pretty good unit for $100 which plays most formats.
          - The Sony car stereos work well, are reasonably powerful, and sound nice.
          - The Sony laptops are slick little units which do a pretty good job of staving off "iBook envy" among Windows bigots.
          - The Sony ear buds are actually a small step up from the iPod's offerings for only ten bucks.
          - The Sony phase-cancelling headphones are a much better choice than the Bose ones you see pushed in most stores.
          - The Sony cabinet speakers... are total crap, sure, but they're not really in the high-end speaker market.

          The grandparent post is right. They've got a reputation for being "pretty good" in almost every market where they have a presense, and an easy brand to look for if you're a busy yuppy with no desire to study reviews and compare prices all day.
          • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Thursday March 02, 2006 @06:48PM (#14838672)
            Sony isn't the best at anything, and is overpriced at everything, but if you don't feel like doing any market research, buy a Sony and you will do okay.

            Honestly I am not sure your statement is as true at a general level for Sony any longer as it is for Samsung in the minds of most consumers, and I have heard less technically ept people express the same sentiments.

            When I am not sure about a purchase today and have no time to look up product details, I am a heck of a lot more likely to go with Samsung because I can be sure of a general level of quality. I would say I have had some Sony duds over the last few years and do not consider the brand quite as reliable as you note.

            Sure my 20 year old Sony CD player is great and still works. But I would not be likley to buy a CD player from them today.

            Go into a Best Buy and look to see which electronics have the least number of boxes left on the lower shelf. Very illuminating...
    • Okay, and now a crappy $300 stereo for the den.

      And a somewhat expensive but easy to use HTPC for the living room? Only an HTPC that understand what people fundamentally want on TV's is in the end video, not programming schedules?

      All of the sudden Apple has bypassed Microsoft and Sony into the living room. It supports optical out, and HDMI - so it will hook into whatever HDTV you decide to use. It has software that integrates well with the devices around it (sound familiar yet?), and a store with a lot of
      • And a somewhat expensive but easy to use HTPC for the living room?

        I already said "computers." And that was after mentioning that a Mac runs my media room. Sheesh, pay attention.
        • I already said "computers." And that was after mentioning that a Mac runs my media room. Sheesh, pay attention.

          In fact I was paying more attention than you know.

          This is exaclty the problem that most people have - thinking of the HTPC as a "computer". If you are trying to get something a lot of people will use in the lviing room this is not what you want to sell to them, because people have zero interest in complexity in teh area where they choose to relax.

          Sure the mini is technically a computer. But did y
      • Why would you mess around with a DVR and work with a somewhat fallable guide and programming in hopes of catching media as it flies past you, instead of downloading it when YOU want to, at any time, with no thoughts as to schedule. If you think of any aspects of the DVR that make it so popular, can you think of ANY that cannot be replicted by simply downloading video and watching it with full random access?

        There's a lot to be said for the freedom to do whatever I want with the files I've recorded, and pa

        • There's a lot to be said for the freedom to do whatever I want with the files I've recorded, and paying only for the hardware. The alternative would be paying, frankly, through the nose for DRM'ed up, poorer quality videos from the iTunes store and having to limit myself to whatever arbitrary rules some marketroids negotiated for me.

          But I can do anything I want with the ITMS videos:

          I can watch them on the TV.

          I can transfer them onto my laptop for travel

          I can transfer them into a video iPod for portable view
      • All of the sudden Apple has bypassed Microsoft and Sony into the living room. It supports optical out, and HDMI[...]

        Not for copy-protected HD movies, it does not. For that, HDMI requires HDCP (aka High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) which is not implemented by any video card currently available. Nevermind the fact that the Mini comes with a DVD only - so no Hi-Def disks for you anyway. But yeah, you can use a HDTV as a glorified monitor, but that's a rather expensive one (why go with the Mini then?)

        R
        • Nevermind the fact that the Mini comes with a DVD only - so no Hi-Def disks for you anyway.

          And how long until you can buy HD H.264 videos from iTMS? I think this is the biggest threat to Sony. If Apple can deliver HD content without needing Blu-Ray or HD DVD, then I can see both formats suffering, especially if Apple are first to market and if they offer a rental model (e.g. $1 for a 7-day version, $5 for a version you can archive). Plug in a few hundred GB of FireWire storage to your Mac Mini, and yo

    • by Snap E Tom (128447) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:39PM (#14838045)
      What you describe is the electronics market of yesterday. Today, devices of all types are plugging into the PCs. The iPod's a music device... that's also a front end to a software program and an online store. We also have car stereos that download songs from your computer onto its own hard drive via 802.11x. PC-based DVRs are in its early stages.

      This battlefield is suited for Apple, where they have control of software and hardware. Sony, not being an OS or software maker, is at a huge disadvantage. Brilliant of Steve Jobs to lead the computer industry into this arena.
      • What you describe is the electronics market of yesterday. Today, Sony devices of all types are plugging into the PCs. The iPod's a music device... that's also a front end to a software program and an online store. We also have Sony car stereos that download Sony label songs from your computer onto its own hard drive via 802.11x. PC-based DVRs are in its early stages.

        Most Mac TOSLink cables are getting plugged into Sony receivers to play music from Sony lables and movies from Sony-owned studios. If you buy
        • Most Mac TOSLink cables are getting plugged into Sony receivers to play music from Sony lables and movies from Sony-owned studios. If you buy a Mac instead of a Sony PVR, or an iPod instead of a Sony Walkman, they still make lots of money off you.

          True, but Sony music and Sony movies are not physical devices sitting in your living room, which is what the original article describes. Sony's still going to make money from their studios, but in affect, they've been booted out of the living room.

          The exception to
    • SNE - approx $45 Billion AAPL - approx $59 Billion Even with its narrower focus, Apple is already a more successful company. Any new successful consumer product is only going to take more away from Sony.
  • Will Apple's recent forays into the living room create even more of a problem for Sony?

    That would be a real shame. I was hoping to purchase as many products with rootkits, backdoors, and viruses as possible. Here's to hoping that Sony regains marketshare so they can bring more fine rootkits to the market.
  • by jjleard (575385) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:29PM (#14837945)
    Sony's EQ2 is taking a beating as well. Not to mention the original EQ that they simply let (are letting) die. I think the guy's at Penny Arcade hit the nail on the head with a recent cartoon: (paraphrase) they seem to be generating content by robots completely devoid of a human touch.
    • But Sony Online Entertainment also sent them 1,200 Krispy Kreme donuts*, so the guys at SOE can't be all that bad.

      Now Krispy Kreme... well, those bastards closed the shop I've been getting donuts at for the last 7 years, so I've been a bit more pissed at them than at Sony.

      *About half way down the page
      http://www.penny-arcade.com/ [penny-arcade.com]
  • That the media division control the development division!
    They can do thing that can eventualy and may be remove some little part of the profit of the media division !

    So Sony will be in 5 (or lest) year a Media company only !(...)
    Well if they don't change !
    • If the product development guys at Sony had been allowed to lead the way, Sony would be in a very different place today. By crippling thier own products they have ceeded many markets to other players.
  • by SheeEttin (899897) <sheeettin&gmail,com> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:31PM (#14837962) Homepage
    Sony's been making audio equipment for a long time, and it's really good quality. If Apple can compete with Sony's quality and Sony can't get cooordinated enough, they may have competition.

    But what exactly is Apple going to do?
    What would they do for stereo equipment? iPod docks? It's been done.
    • I see a market for an Apple A/V console where the user can doc their iPod to it but they can also surf the screen for movies to instantly download from iTMS. All Apple needs to do is license and re-brand big screen LCD TVs and good Hi-Fi speakers. Then they'd have a complete quality system in a $5000 package to take to market Apple-style.
    • But what exactly is Apple going to do? What would they do for stereo equipment?

      Oh, I dunno, they could do... this? [apple.com]
  • by pHatidic (163975) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:31PM (#14837966)
    1) "The 'killer app' of tomorrow won't be software or hardware devices,
    but the social practices they make possible." - Howard Rheingold

    The Sony 'iPod killers' are just using new technology to accomplish the same social purpose. The only difference between the Sony products and the Apple ones is that the Sony ones are less sexy. If Sony wants to succeed, they need to make a product that A) serves a new social purpose and B) is more sexy. Let's face it: the iPod is already sexy. But the iPod is sexy as in sexy to look at. That was good enough five years ago, but not today. I want REAL sexy. Not just sexy as in sexy to look at sexy, but sexy as in dripping down your face sexy.

    2) "The real 'iPod killer' won't be an mp3 player."

    The world doesn't need a new mp3 player. The iPod is already good enough. The real iPod killer won't be an mp3 player. It won't even play mp3s. It will do something entirely different. The problem is the people who run these companies like Sony are a little slow and don't get this, so we get these people investing 100 million dollars to create shit products that any five year old knows won't sell when they could be creating the next patent pending paradigm shifting curve jumping technology for 1/20th of that much.
    • And also the fact that this story is under the Apple category even though it's about Sony is telling :-)

      (And no, I'm not just a serial entrepreneur, I also do consulting)
    • Um...no... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Expert Determination (950523) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:46PM (#14838118)
      The only difference between the Sony products and the Apple ones is that the Sony ones are less sexy
      Did you ever look at Sony's apology for an mp3^H^H^Hatrac player? The iPod succeeded because it, and iTunes, were awesomely easy to use. People didn't have to stop for a moment to figure out how to use them. They just worked, straight out of the box. (So well that countless applications have now copied many of iTunes GUI elements.)

      Apple didn't succeed because new social practices become possible. This is obvious - mp3 players were available before the iPod came along. (And anyway, half the social practices associated with iPods are mythical - like random strangers jacking into each other's iPods.)

      When are people going to stop making up ever more fanciful notions about why the iPod is so popular and just look at the device and software itself? Unless you're a geek who likes to waste their day messing about with clunky hard to use software and devices it's pretty obvious why the iPod is a superior product to its competition.

      • Why do you assume the social practice the iPod makes possible is playing music?

        *hint* You can buy a better mp3 player for less money than the iPod.

        • *hint* You can buy a better mp3 player for less money than the iPod.
          Which is why I talked about the complete package, iTunes and iPod. Every other music/media management app I have ever used is at best poor by comparison. Sony released one that was so bad that some reviewers had trouble reviewing the device that it came with. You don't need to make up some Wired-article style techno-mythology to explain why Sony can't compete with Apple in this market.
          • You don't need to make up some Wired-article style techno-mythology to explain why Sony can't compete with Apple in this market.

            It's because walking around with a Sony MP3 player won't get you laid.

            Why do you think people spend four bucks on a cup of coffee on Starbucks even though only 30% of the people surveyed actually like Starbuck's coffee?
            • Why do you think people spend four bucks on a cup of coffee on Starbucks...

              Because the Mom-and-Pop diner next door sells filter coffee coffee that tastes like battery acid, like in most of America before Starbucks arrived.

              ...even though only 30% of the people surveyed actually like Starbuck's coffee?

              Because it's fashionable to dis Starbucks (for largely political reasons) and claim that you prefer Peet's even though you can barely detect a difference.

            • It's because walking around with a Sony MP3 player won't get you laid.

              Note to self: locate and reread iPod instruction manual.
        • Good point. Let's see if I understand you.

          My friend James and I both work in media here in NY. We were invited to a screening for an independent film. James has a Rio something or other (this is about a year ago). Hot blond chick gets in line behind us. She's checking James out. James pulls out his Rio to turn down the volume so he can make his move. She looks at his Rio with distaste.

          HBC: what's that? an ipod?
          James: no, it's a Rio ____; it's just as good, and it has more features.
          HBC: (already checked out)
      • Re:Um...no... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 2nd Post! (213333) <gundbear&pacbell,net> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @08:06PM (#14839206) Homepage
        Actually, there is at least one social practice the iPod made possible:

        Carrying all your music with you; a soundtrack to your life.

        Prior to the iPod you had three choices:
        1) Unit based players, like a CD player or a tape cassette with limited music selection
        2) Network based players, like a AM/FM radio with limited music selection
        3) MP3 players, like the Nomad or Rio with crude design and usability

        The iPod, in one package, provide three things the other three existing devices did not have:
        1) Wide music selection (your entire music collection)
        2) Easy music selection (not only your entire collection, but being to easily browse through it)
        3) Portable music selection (smaller than everything out there with a comparable storage density; the Rio was smaller, but only could store 128mb!)
    • knows won't sell when they could be creating the next patent pending paradigm shifting curve jumping technology for 1/20th of that much.

      Well.. you go crceate the next paradigm shifting curve jumping technology since you think it's so bloody easy, meanwhile the rest of us will remain firmly stuck here in the real world.

    • I agree that the iPod killer won't be an mp3 player. But Sony's done a very good job with their current line of Sony Ericsson Walkman Cellphones [gadgetswanted.com]. They're sleek phones, some with cameras, and walkman controls. They play MP3s and AACs. Their flash ram is upgradable. They're not the ipod killer but decent competition for those who want a phone blended with an audio player.
    • "sexy as in dripping down your face sexy"

      Apple's doing bukkake? Sounds sticky, not sexy. :p
  • I only buy 17" component equipment. I like having a seperate receiver, cd player, dvd player, vcr, and the like. Apple doesn't produce anything in that form factor (and a 17" wide speaker with an ipod sitting on top doesn't count) and hasn't since the days of the pizza-box Quadras of the early nineties.

    For me to consider putting Apple into my AV cabinet they need equipment that fits the form factor that both industry and I have chosen. I can put a cheap PC into a rack mount server chassis and use that
    • Edit: I forgot about the X-Serve, in that it is 17". Unfortunately it's also about three feet long and is obscenely expensive. So, while technically that could fit into the right system, it's a lot deeper than the 12-18" deep equipment that most of us use.
    • I also like having seperate components. However I don't mind combining a few into one, as I can with a Mac mini - which seems to me to fit your criteria, except perhaps it is too small? :-)

      Seriously why not use a mini as another kind of component that acts as a media hub for the rest of the computers in your house (iTunes sharing, for example).

      One other nice thing about the Mini is that if you enable desktop sharing you can use VNC to connect to and control what the computer is doing, making a laptop (or a
    • Sounds like I could sell this guy a 17" wide empty plastic box just tall enough to hold one Mac Mini and maybe an external drive ot two. The trouble is that I doubt I'd find two many more "equipment philes" who would prefer the PC tower laying sideways form factor to a Mini's
    • No offense, but just like every other geek on Slashdot who says "I won't buy it 'cause it won't play OGG," you are not the target market. Picky geeks are not what keeps a consumer electronics industry afloat. You only buy 17" gear? Great. Apple will get along without you.

      I, on the other hand, greatly value your business and will happily sell you a Mac Mini in a 17" wide box for just $1399. Also, Monster Cables are 10% off with any WideBody Mini purchase.
  • Sony's big problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by replicant108 (690832) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:33PM (#14837980) Journal
    Sony's biggest problem is not Apple.

    Sony's biggest problem is the contempt it has shown it's customers.

    • No, Sony's biggest problem is not it's "contempt". It's their content division taking charge of it's electronics division.

      Sony makes very cool gadgets and develops great technology - but they are hindered by the content division adding DRM and other crap that makes it less competitive. Because the content division did so well at the expense of it's electronics division, the suits in charge believe that content should rule. That's why they hired the idiot Howard Stringer as CEO. The guy came from the con
    • In other words, Sony's biggest problem is itself, and particularly its unwillingness to let its electronics division override its entertainment division. There's no reason for Apple to be the portable music leader -- Sony could have done it with the minidisc and then could at least be in the game with its hard drive walkman. In both cases, problems with file formats, DRM, ease of use and user interface hobbled their attempts. The first two can be traced directly back to their content division.

      Sony's hardwar

  • by mu11ingitover (924415) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:34PM (#14837985) Homepage
    I'll buy Apple products.
    /two words: root kit.
    /Two more: never forget.
  • In the mid-eighties to early nineties my brother and I would frequently pour over Sony catalogues and hang out at the Sony store. At the time, they were definintely the cool place for gadgets. I think about ten years ago I started to feel like they had lost the cool factor. I'm not exactly sure what it was, but after that, every time I went into a Sony store I got bored real quick. Recently, their attempts with the VAIO and related computer equipment have seemed like neat ideas looking for a problem. V
    • I think about ten years ago I started to feel like they had lost the cool factor.

      Hate to tell you this, but it might be because you're getting old(er). Don't worry, I won't tell anyone.

      But yes, Sony has lost a bit of the "Cool Factor".

    • In the mid-eighties to early nineties my brother and I would frequently pour over Sony catalogues ...

      Yes, well, let's keep your sexual paraphilias out of the conversation, shall we?

  • by overshoot (39700) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:34PM (#14837993)
    The whole point is to prevent interoperability.

    Hardly surprising, then, that it has that effect on distributed development. Apple has the advantage of keeping its developers together, which is fine as long as you have a narrow product base.

    • The whole point (of DRM) is to prevent interoperability.

      That's not really the point, it's to protect the path of video or other media to the consumer.

      A side effect is indeed lack of interoperability.

      That is a key distinction to understanding why Apple's DRM has been more successful, because initially they did in fact provide interoperability with CD players and other computers. Then the network effect took hold and competitors had to do more; but there they ran into a wall because DRM only allows so much f
      • That's not really the point, it's to protect the path of video or other media to the consumer.

        Bullshit, that's the perfect excuse to convince media conglomerates to only support drm products.

        Itunes? Oh yes, really nice, except than in 5 years, you're not going to be able to play your music in anything else than apple's music players, and if other company starts doing better and more beautiful players than apple you're screwed - you've to buy an apple music player.

        Being the most succesful online music store
  • by mattkinabrewmindspri (538862) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:36PM (#14838005)
    If they were less blatantly anti-consumer, and if they focused more on providing a product that consumers want, they might be able to compete.

    But as for now, when people think of Sony, they think of a company that produces mediocre products and treats them like criminals. And that's not going to help the company move its merchandise.

  • I had to sound like a broken record (no pun intended), but bad karma is a bitch. Sony declared war on the consumer with the BMI spyware fiasco, and as far as I care I feel nothing but malice and schadenfreud towards Sony corp.
  • Love the hardware, hate the software.

    I would have had several sony mp3 players by now if it wasn't for the several restrictions on filetype (ok, they finally took care of that one) and how you put songs on the player. Battery life and style almost have me wanting one anyway.

    I wish they would just spin-off some of their hardware to a completely independent line that doesn't have to care about the content that their other half is so worried about us pirating. Then they would be able to put out some easy to
  • I, for one, am watching closely to see if I can determine the answer to that question myself. As a stock investor, if Apple developes a MediaCenter Mac with the appeal of of the iPod then Apple's currently "high" stock price will suddenly be cheap.

    It appears that Apple is slowly putting the peices in place to have the Mini as a frontend solution for media serving or an "iPod for the living room". Its not all integrated yet, and there are lots more technical and legal problems with video that didn't apply
    • Another issue is that if the Disney Pixar deal goes through, then with Jobs being the largest Disney share holder he will be sitting on both sides of the DRM debate.

      But as a major stockholder and CEO of Pixar, he was already on both sides.

      I still remember the NYTimes article when then Disney CEO Eisner was sitting in front of a congressional panel crying about how Monsters, Inc. was on the internet and blasting Apple for its irresponsible Rip, Mix, Burn campaign. The Times article had a picture of Eisner re
    • The mini is not exactly there as you say, but the new mini is indeed that first Mediacenter Mac you are looking for - or so close as to make no difference.

      Check out the connection options and TV tips [apple.com] they offer today. The thing is fully ready to live in harmony with any TV or HDTV you might have.

      And if Jobs is sitting over both sides of the DRM debate as you say, then we already know which way he is predisposed to come down on the issue. DRM but not to a crippling extreme.

      If the mini as it stands is basic
  • One way to fix this would be to throttle back all current development of the Walkman brand, mp3 players, etc.

    Then, select your brightest people and create a division for the sole purpose of developing the next portable consumer entertainment device (not necessarily just a music player. who knows).

    Give this division complete autonomy and make bonuses directly reflect market performance of the end product. Emulate a startup within the corporate structure of Sony.

    This will only work if the shareholders a
  • US companies have comparatively free atmosphere and they are good at making loosely attached large softwares with lots of features. Japanes company on the other hand are good at making small, gadget types softwares which must work perfect and must work all the time with little CPU power and memory. Ofcourse there are exception to both the sides. As the digital gadgets are becoming complex and computers and gadgets are merging, the Japanese companies are losing. The can't compete with PDAs like PALM and Pock
  • wtf? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BewireNomali (618969) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:49PM (#14838149)
    i'd say microsoft is more of a threat than apple. let's not forget that sony has an indomitable foothold in the living room already - the PS2. The living room is theirs to lose.

    When I first learned how to code - I had a high school teacher named Mr. Rice - and he always admonished me to keep it simple. He'd write KISS on the board - and then say no offense - to which I'd reply, - none taken. Sony can't seem to keep it simple.

    All of which is to say - all Sony has to do is SHOW UP ON TIME - and the living room is theirs. But no - they keep trying to kill every DAVID out there. If the PS3 were coming out RIGHT NOW - the console wars would be a rout - Sony would win. Even with no killer launch titles - Sony would be a hands down winner because of the installed user base and backwards compatibility. They can always add their online service later - in say the PS3.1 or whatever. Blu-Ray spec issues? Add it in PS3.2. They just need to be in the marketplace with a new product.

    To win in the living room - you must deliver gaming. Because apple does not - they're not yet a living room solution. Microsoft delivers gaming in a very nice package - but they don't know how to design for the living room - meaning they design boxes that age poorly and soon seem and look anachronistic (the xbox one is so damn ugly). But the X-Box gaming experience is superior - and x-box live is a gaming solution without competition. They just can't get games out there fast enough.

    The first one stop gaming/DVR/audio/movie device with already recognizable brand awareness wins the living room hands down.
  • Sony has been losing the 'media war' for a bunch of years. Before Apple started making iPod's actually.

    Those screwy mini-disc players they had a bunch of years for example. Very few people bought them. Only Sony supported them. They weren't compatible with anything else. I think they even used a proprietary format as I recall.

    So now they come late-to-market with a me-too product that nobody could figure out what it does, and someone is shocked it's not selling that well??

    Add in the root-kit fiasco, a f
    • Those screwy mini-disc players they had a bunch of years for example. Very few people bought them. Only Sony supported them. They weren't compatible with anything else. I think they even used a proprietary format as I recall.

      Congratulations, 3 incorrect statements in 5 sentences.

      Lots of people bought MiniDisc--in Japan. Lots of vendors supported MiniDisc, including Sharp, JVC, Denon, Kenwood, Marantz, Pioneer, Teac, and Technics. They were compatible with other audio systems via digital optical audio ou

  • by Johnny Mozzarella (655181) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:55PM (#14838212)
    Although Apple's fan base has made it clear they want a media center device with recording capabilities, they don't want to give them what they want.
    Why? because it will hurt their iTunes video download business? Sound like any major conglomerate you know?

    I believe Apple will overcome this by developing a better movie/video, distribution/download, system/service. The service will hopefully be good enough to silence most of it's critics.
    Apple would need to convince us that subscribing to their service is a better value proposition than doing all the "heavy lifting" of recording our own content.

    As Apple continues to grow and venture into new territories there will be more "conflicts of interest" in the future.
  • Since Sony is member of the RIAA, it's logical that it has invested a lot of resources into proprietary formats and $sys$rootkit DRM. Notice that their DRM schemes were outsourced, not invented by their own engineers.

    Meanwhile, Apple and Microsoft have invested most of their resources into... guess what? SOFTWARE! Microsoft has Media Player, Internet Explorer (we learn by screwing up, so that counts :P ), and of course, Windows. Apple has OS/X as a flag for its software Success, and of course, the iPod.

    And
  • Sony has a games division full of software engineers who are specialists at developing games for consoles. Sony has other engineering product divisions who have software engineers who are good at writing code to run on consumer hardware devices.

    Where does that leave Sony in developing... an application like iTunes ?

    I'll tell you where. It leaves Sony flapping in the wind, with a bunch of BMG-style media company guys yanking the chain of the guy in charge of the Walkman product development, who yanks the c

  • The next gen console from apple will ship as a 5 inch diameter, perfect white sphere, powered by a thermal recharger in its shallow bowl cradle. The system itself will have a single 64bit 2GHz G5 processor with 256MB of ram and an Nvida Geforce onboard chip. Cooling will be achived through a liquid circulation system that runs fluid just below the surface of the sphere.

    All communication will be wireless, with connectivity to the iMac monitor supported preferred, with the option to have the game display as t
  • They should make me a CEO of Sony. I could solve all their problems overnight.

    STOP WITH THE STUPID DRM and just use mp3/ogg. Done.

    I actually bought one of those minidisc players... It would have been so awesome if was a hdd that took mp3s and played them. Instead, it came with some incredibly worthless software that was impossible to use (and buggy) that allowed you to make 3 copies of your songs in a format that no sane person would use.

    So that's it. I win. Sony could easily make a comeback and take d
  • There where other, better and cheaper portable cassette players before the walkman. All along the early eighties Sanyo kicked the living crap out of Sony when it came to features, performance and battery time.
    So how did the Walkman get the mindshare? Just the way Apples iPod did. By wrapping it in flashy colors and design (Walkman 2 anyone?) and make it a fashion statement rather than a boring intimidating tech device.
  • by soupdevil (587476) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @06:20PM (#14838421)

    Five years ago, Sony's music labels should have started releasing all albums as mp3 on Memory Sticks. They should have released a Walkman with a Memory Stick Slot. Sony would have owned the music hardware scene, and limited-edition Memory Sticks with unique content would have established the Memory stick as the standard flash format.

    But now Sony's hardware is languishing, and their Sony label artists are all sporting iPods. As the only label/hardware manufacturer, they had an undeniable advantage, and they blew it. Oh well.
  • Yah, if there is one thing more annyoung then iPod killer stories it is generic company killer stories.

    If you think Sony is having troubles take a look at Philips. They been struggling for the last 2 decades and they are still around.

    Big companies don't die easily and they don't get much bigger then Sony. Even now.

    Oh sure, Sony can really get into trouble but it is to big to just collapse unless a scandal happens like Enron. For one thing there is employment. Sony has factories everywhere and goverments

  • Why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone (681598) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @07:01PM (#14838771)
    Why is competition in the marketplace always characterized as a "war?"

    Why are these "wars" always lost before anyone even knows about them?

  • by heroine (1220) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @09:55PM (#14839837) Homepage
    Japanese companies always produced the best consumer electronics. In Japan, everyone had a wide range of responsibilies. The same people worked on software, hardware, design and experience on previous products was applied to new products. If programmers couldn't design useful interfaces, they didn't survive.

    The problem seems to be their attempts to apply American specialization to consumer electronics. Now the programmers are supposed to just program, the EE's just design hardware, interface design is strictly management, and needs are filled by hiring and firing instead of reusing people.

    Consumer electronics aren't the kinds of things you can apply American specialization to. Those who think they can are being eaten up by the LG's and Samsungs. Apple has Slashdot on its side, and that helps a lot.

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.

Working...