Sony's precipitous fall from grace in the last few years is beginning to feel like a Greek tragedy.
A decade ago, the Japanese conglomerate had aspirations of becoming the center of a great digital revolution. And why not? It had already spent years on an unprecedented expansionist strategy that included the audacious buyout of Hollywood studios in a strategy of owning everything from the creation of content to the consumer electronics that played it.
Today, all the pieces are finally falling into place to make that world a reality, as even the slow-footed Big Three TV networks are finding ways to offer shows on a variety of devices and technologies. But it couldn't be happening at a worse time for Sony, which has cut 30,000 jobs in two years while fighting competition ranging from its staple TV sets to the iPod, both markets that it once dominated. In fact, it's still struggling with such basic issues as copyright protection on its CDs.
Is Sony destined to miss the long-awaited entertainment "convergence" that it has spent so long preparing for? It may still be too soon to say but, in the meantime, you can get these T-shirts and mugs emblazoned with the line: "SORY seems to be the hardest word."
Blog community response:
"I had been seriously considering a PS2, since there are so many nice games for that system. Not anymore though; I'm waiting for the cluemeter at Sony to rise back into positive territory."
--Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants
"The issue for Sony/BMG and their peers is that they don't really want to sell music anymore--they want to retain control of the music once it is sold, sort of like software licenses. They want to monetize every play of every song they 'own,' ensuring a steady revenue stream. I hope their nefarious plan fails."
--B12 Partners Solipsism
"It will take a long time before consumers start to place their trust in Sony again. Hopefully they've learned their lesson. Remember when the Walkman was the Sony icon? No more. Now it's the iPod. Kids today probably don't even know what a Walkman is."