Sony’s Howard Stringer Is Delusional

It just has to be said.

Howard Stringer, in charge of Sony, is delusional.

[NEA Interview] Sony Chairman, CEO Howard Stringer

Right now is an excellent opportunity for consumer electronics companies to improve their understanding of consumers.

Five years ago content companies were regarded as king in our industry, but that was wrong: the customer is king.

Sure, some people might say, “This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” But I reached this conclusion after spending more time on the road, worldwide, than most executives.

Consumers today are a lot different from how they were 20 years ago. They aren’t passive any more. The spread of the Internet has given them the power to dictate how products are used, and an increasing number of people are discovering new ways to have fun, such as by creating their own content.

Emphasis added by me.

The customer is king?

1) Then why does the Sony eBook Store still sell proprietary BBeB eBooks?

2) Then why is it still impossible for writers and small publishers to publish at the Sony eBook Store?

3) Then why aren’t there tools for writers and small publishers to create BBeB eBooks?

4) Then why isn’t there Sony eLibrary software for Mac OS X?

5) Then why does the Sony eLibrary software for Windows still bite?

Those six things still tell me the customer is not king — the customer is still an insignificant little lackey the King can piss on.

In fact, which “customer” does Stringer actually mean? Here’s his vision of “customer” just last May:

Walt taking Howard to task over “craplets” on his Sony computers (this is a big thing for Walt). Wants him to take anti-craplet pledge. Howard won’t bite. “You’re not a typical consumer.” Not true! says Walt. Everyone’s got my back on this! Howard: “I promise you a craplets review.”

Emphasis added by me.


If we had gone with open technology from the start, I think we probably would have beaten Apple Inc of the US.

This is simply delusional!

Does Howard Stringer understand why the iPod and then iPhone succeeded? Does he think it was simply luck, a fluke? As I said earlier, a company not in consumer electronics, without a history of music-related products, based outside of Japan, stole away a market from global giant Sony. Show me where the “open” was in that equation, Stringer!

And then Amazon came along and kicked Sony’s ass again — with the Kindle! This despite Sony spending a ton of money on ads and investing money on two iterations of the Reader!

Now, if Stringer had said this:

If we had gone with open technology from the start, I think we probably would have beaten Amazon’s Kindle.

Emphasis added by me.

He would have at least been in waving distance of reality.

He could have read this waaaay back in January 2008:

1) Give away the ebook file format. That’s right. Let anyone and everyone have it, royalty-free. There’s a precedent for this, Sony helped set it, and Sony reaped millions and millions of dollars from that move and created a new worldwide standard. They did it in conjunction with Philips when they introduced the Compact Cassette tape format.


2) Open your ebook store. Because you’ve held onto the file format, you’ve allowed Amazon a huge advantage here by allowing writers to immediately publish their works and sell them via the Kindle Store. This is really inexcusable, Sony. Do any of you use the Internet? What is the Internet but the largest self-publishing effort in the total history of humanity? How could you have missed that connection? With the year-long advantage you had, your ebook store could have boasted of thousands of titles the Kindle Store lacked. All of them original. And some of them would have remained exclusive to your store because we writers are loyal beasts. We remember who treats us right (and vice versa!).

But apparently he didn’t have his stupid Chumbly tuned to my blog’s RSS feed.

That’s seventeen months lost, Stringer.

How many more are you going to waste?

When the hell do you wake up, man?


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