Will Sony Even Exist In Five Years?

Sony hires a professional fixer

On Friday, Sony announced it has hired longtime IBM executive George Bailey as chief transformation officer. He will report to Sony CEO Howard Stringer beginning June 1 as head of the Transformation Management Office and consult with two main company divisions: Consumer Products and Devices and Networked Products and Services.

Bailey served for five years as the global managing partner of IBM’s electronics industry consulting practice. His new title at Sony — though grand — describes exactly what Bailey has been known for in his career: fixing the way consumer electronics makers approach the business and help them make money — he even wrote a book about it.

Emphasis added by me.

And what is in that book?

Of course, it’s easy to say, “Do what Apple does.” But the numbers tell the story: Sony Electronics had $11.1 billion in sales in its most recent quarter, and an operating income of $412 million. Because Sony Electronics is a unit of Sony Corp., the final profit numbers for the individual business are unavailable. Apple, on the other hand, had a $472 million profit on $4.37 billion in sales in its most recent quarter.

So what does Apple do right that Sony does not? Two things: It innovates, and it gives customers what they want, from the packaging to the slick advertising, say the authors.

“That’s sort of the secret formula for success that the book talks about,” said Bailey.

Emphasis added by me.

Oh dear god. Anyone who calls something so frikkin obvious a “secret formula” is not someone I’m going to trust to feed my cat!

What has everyone been screaming at Sony to do in regards with the Sony Reader?

1) Lower the hardware price

2) Release BBeB eBook creation tools

3) Open the eBook Store

4) Release Mac OS X eLibrary software

5) Add wireless

How “secret” exactly has any of this been? And these are calls from customers and people who want to be customers and people who want to be in the eBook business.

None of it has been a secret.

That Sony has ignored all of this for years points to the company having a future just like that of General Motors, Chrysler, AIG, and Citigroup.

In other words: Self-inflicted FAIL!

Don’t make this the Betamax of eBooks, Sony!


One Response to Will Sony Even Exist In Five Years?

  1. Peter L. Winkler says:

    Sony used to be equated in the opular mind with the best quality in video products. I remember, decades ago, that a Sony Trinitron was considered the best TV and was worth the higher price than sets from various competitors. That hasn’t been true for a long time now. Sony video products are pretty much indistinguishable from any other major brand, and competitive pressure ended their premium pricing. Sony hasn’t had a game changing product since the Walkman.

    Apple’s brand identity is linked to premium pricing. That translates to much higher margins per unit sold. And Apple still shows that they can produce products like the iPod and iPhone that dominate their product category.

    Sony can’t turn back the clock.

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