I wrote last week about Sony CEO Howard Stringer's comments suggesting Sony could have beaten Apple in digital music if only the had embraced open technology. While technology certainly could play a role in Sony's success, it's clear that the company needs a whole new way of thinking.
At a breakfast Thursday cohosted by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and The New Yorker, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton told the audience his not-so-inner thoughts about the Internet.
"I'm a guy who doesn't see anything good having come from the Internet...(The Internet) created this notion that anyone can have whatever they want at any given time. It's as if the stores on Madison Avenue were open 24 hours a day. They feel entitled. They say, 'Give it to me now,' and if you don't give it to them for free, they'll steal it."
According to WWD.com Lynton tried out another simile. Referring to the Obama administration's goal to spread broadband access without, he said, regulating piracy, Lynton made a comparison with building highway systems without speed limits or driver's licenses. "We do need rules of the road," he said.
Rules of the road are one thing, but these type of short-sighted, borderline absurd comments suggest a more systemic problem. Instead of embracing new technologies and delivery methods, Sony chooses to stick to the old, now failing ways, as evidenced by the company's recent $1 billion loss.
With leadership like this, Sony only has itself to blame.