January 20, 2006 2:16 PM PST

Sony reorganizes struggling Connect service

Sony said Friday that it will strengthen ties between its portable audio division and the struggling Connect digital music download unit, an iTunes rival launched in early 2004.

The Connect service was Sony's entry into the digital music market that was, and still is, dominated by Apple Computer's iTunes. However, since its launch, Connect has gained little traction with consumers, while Sony's portable audio players have been overshadowed by the explosive success of Apple's iPod.

The download unit, now renamed the Connect Business Division, will be placed officially under Hiroshi Yoshioka, who oversees the portable audio division. In that position, Yoshioka will be "best placed to reallocate resources and promote both the portable audio and content distribution business," a representative said in an e-mail.

Sony has felt Apple's rise in the portable audio business particularly keenly, given that it was its own Walkman line of products that essentially invented the space beginning in 1979.

Analysts have said Sony has been hampered in part by the different goals of different divisions, such as the desire of the content companies to protect their music and movies from piracy, and the electronics division's stake in technologies such as the MiniDisc and the Memory Stick.

Connect has long been expected to move into new types of content, such as video and downloadable games, and to play a more prominent role in the company's Net strategy. A first installment was announced early this month, in the form of a relationship with the new Starz Vongo video-on-demand service, which will be distributed by Sony.

The service will also begin selling downloadable eBooks, for customers of the company's new Portable Reader, Sony said at the recent Consumer Electronics Show.

Sony is still in the midst of a broad companywide reorganization aimed at improving communication across units, and turning around several years of seeing its products lose ground to rivals like the iPod.

18 comments

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Sony's got it all wrong this time.
I've known about Sony's Connect service, but haven't even thought of visiting it. I haven't seen a single commercial for it; tv, online, or print. So, how is it that I'm supposed to know about it.

Sony needs to get off its comfortable chair, and the convenient words of "build it, and they will come." Well, it's obvious that they haven't been coming at all.

Sony "almost" got it right with the PSP. I know people are going to come out saying "it's a game machine first." Whatever. Knowing how Sony want's to take over every single area in entertainment, I doubt it they just put the mp3 playback for the heck of it. The PSP is just the bait to get people to buy their overpriced "memory DuoPro" and their movies on a new format. And, why, oh why, are people buying their movies, again, in the UMD format. Considering that the same movie sold for $15.00 and more, can be found on DVD for $5.00. What's wrong with this scenario here. Oh well ... people can do what they want with their money.

I'd love to get a PSP. But, considering that 2 gigs of memory can easily cost the price of the console itself. NO WAY !!!

Going back to music... Microsoft, and many other giants have been unable to dethrone Apple and its iTunes and iPod products. Sony won't do it either. As long as they stick to their ridiculously proprietary memory, it's not happening.
Posted by Dead Soulman (245 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sony's got it all wrong this time.
I've known about Sony's Connect service, but haven't even thought of visiting it. I haven't seen a single commercial for it; tv, online, or print. So, how is it that I'm supposed to know about it.

Sony needs to get off its comfortable chair, and the convenient words of "build it, and they will come." Well, it's obvious that they haven't been coming at all.

Sony "almost" got it right with the PSP. I know people are going to come out saying "it's a game machine first." Whatever. Knowing how Sony want's to take over every single area in entertainment, I doubt it they just put the mp3 playback for the heck of it. The PSP is just the bait to get people to buy their overpriced "memory DuoPro" and their movies on a new format. And, why, oh why, are people buying their movies, again, in the UMD format. Considering that the same movie sold for $15.00 and more, can be found on DVD for $5.00. What's wrong with this scenario here. Oh well ... people can do what they want with their money.

I'd love to get a PSP. But, considering that 2 gigs of memory can easily cost the price of the console itself. NO WAY !!!

Going back to music... Microsoft, and many other giants have been unable to dethrone Apple and its iTunes and iPod products. Sony won't do it either. As long as they stick to their ridiculously proprietary memory, it's not happening.
Posted by Dead Soulman (245 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A Long, Long Trail for Sony.
I've tried Sony Connect, and I believe it's one of the worst services out there. My experience with Sony Connect happened out of curiousity---I purchased a Sony portable stereo/CD player last year, and it came with a CD of Atrac 3 conversion software, along with the Connect music store. Atrac as an alternative to MP3 isn't a very useful format, because it can only be played on Sony music players.
The Connect music store is very commercialized---there aren't even any(30 second) samples of music to try. Of the very few radio stations promoted, all of them are pay-for-play. There are no podcasts, and no video clips. The Sony program is itself rather tedious to remove, once installed---it leaves a lot of files and registry keys behind. Compared to iTunes, Sony Connect has a long way to catch up. After the Sony-BMG rootkit fiasco, I doubt if Sony Connect will gain the trust of the public anytime soon.
Posted by Michael G. (185 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A Long, Long Trail for Sony.
I've tried Sony Connect, and I believe it's one of the worst services out there. My experience with Sony Connect happened out of curiousity---I purchased a Sony portable stereo/CD player last year, and it came with a CD of Atrac 3 conversion software, along with the Connect music store. Atrac as an alternative to MP3 isn't a very useful format, because it can only be played on Sony music players.
The Connect music store is very commercialized---there aren't even any(30 second) samples of music to try. Of the very few radio stations promoted, all of them are pay-for-play. There are no podcasts, and no video clips. The Sony program is itself rather tedious to remove, once installed---it leaves a lot of files and registry keys behind. Compared to iTunes, Sony Connect has a long way to catch up. After the Sony-BMG rootkit fiasco, I doubt if Sony Connect will gain the trust of the public anytime soon.
Posted by Michael G. (185 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sony will fail again and again and again
Until they allow their portable players to support MP3 files natively without the use of their stupid software it will always fail. Which is fine since I'm boycotting Sony anyway.
Posted by ballssalty (219 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Check your facts
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you'd know that all of the Walkman devices on the market natively support MP3, and have since the beginning of 2005 (and before that for some models).

You should check your information (and grudges) before you post if you are trying to level wide-ranging acusations like "they don't support MP3".
Posted by Caved (3 comments )
Link Flag
Sony will fail again and again and again
Until they allow their portable players to support MP3 files natively without the use of their stupid software it will always fail. Which is fine since I'm boycotting Sony anyway.
Posted by ballssalty (219 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Check your facts
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you'd know that all of the Walkman devices on the market natively support MP3, and have since the beginning of 2005 (and before that for some models).

You should check your information (and grudges) before you post if you are trying to level wide-ranging acusations like "they don't support MP3".
Posted by Caved (3 comments )
Link Flag
Loser!
Sony's has a standard customer last, profits first and foremost, and anything else they can shortchange the customer, so anything they create, has little or no chance of going forward!

The music industry arm, has shown what they have in mind for all in the future! Todate they have chosen, not own up and/or accept any responsibility, and are not adverse in the use of mainstream propaganda, for cover up of the illegal activities,and issue fictitious product recalls, and computers playing audio cd's, will be suffering from this form of cyber terrorism for decades!

Oh well, one can say, sign up for this service and you will undoubtedly lose all fair user rights in the name of DMCA!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Loser!
Sony's has a standard customer last, profits first and foremost, and anything else they can shortchange the customer, so anything they create, has little or no chance of going forward!

The music industry arm, has shown what they have in mind for all in the future! Todate they have chosen, not own up and/or accept any responsibility, and are not adverse in the use of mainstream propaganda, for cover up of the illegal activities,and issue fictitious product recalls, and computers playing audio cd's, will be suffering from this form of cyber terrorism for decades!

Oh well, one can say, sign up for this service and you will undoubtedly lose all fair user rights in the name of DMCA!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Would you like Rootkits with that?
I wouldn't trust Sony's software for anything. They could have it install whatever copy protection they want for their cds. Heck, they could even hide it until the heat blows over and then tie it into their cds.

Sony lost all trust with me after the Rootkit scandal. Nothing Sony is safe anymore.

BMR777
Posted by BMR777 (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Would you like Rootkits with that?
I wouldn't trust Sony's software for anything. They could have it install whatever copy protection they want for their cds. Heck, they could even hide it until the heat blows over and then tie it into their cds.

Sony lost all trust with me after the Rootkit scandal. Nothing Sony is safe anymore.

BMR777
Posted by BMR777 (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sorry Sony
I first read of connect.com shortly after it launched and it was
already being called Sony "Disconnect" by most reviewers. IMO
that was a good description of the site and nothing has changed
to change my mind.

When I visited the site a few minutes ago, it greeted me with:
"We appreciate your interest in the Connect music store, but our
store currently only works with Internet Explorer 5.5 and above"

Sorry Sony, but there's no way I'd have IE on my Mac or Linux
computers even IF it was even available. And since your site
doesn't offer music that I can play on my iPod, what good is it to
me, or 80+ % of all legal music downloaders.

I used to love your products. My home entertainment center
originally contained a Sony Tivo, television, receiver, tape deck,
dvd player, and vcr. But your pitiful DRM efforts, along with
other antics you have pulled, have moved your products to
second place.

My first choice is now anyone else.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sorry Sony
I first read of connect.com shortly after it launched and it was
already being called Sony "Disconnect" by most reviewers. IMO
that was a good description of the site and nothing has changed
to change my mind.

When I visited the site a few minutes ago, it greeted me with:
"We appreciate your interest in the Connect music store, but our
store currently only works with Internet Explorer 5.5 and above"

Sorry Sony, but there's no way I'd have IE on my Mac or Linux
computers even IF it was even available. And since your site
doesn't offer music that I can play on my iPod, what good is it to
me, or 80+ % of all legal music downloaders.

I used to love your products. My home entertainment center
originally contained a Sony Tivo, television, receiver, tape deck,
dvd player, and vcr. But your pitiful DRM efforts, along with
other antics you have pulled, have moved your products to
second place.

My first choice is now anyone else.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NEVER BUY SONY --- always a better choice
DRM, Rootkits, lack respect for honest consumers. You know the one and that one is Sony. Anyone else is a better choice than Sony.
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NEVER BUY SONY --- always a better choice
DRM, Rootkits, lack respect for honest consumers. You know the one and that one is Sony. Anyone else is a better choice than Sony.
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Land of the falling son y
Completely agree with Sorry Sony . Could not have put it any better
.
Boycott Sony and Sony BMG.
Posted by macadamia1 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Land of the falling son y
Completely agree with Sorry Sony . Could not have put it any better
.
Boycott Sony and Sony BMG.
Posted by macadamia1 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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