What were those designers

By Rob Enderle  |  Posted 2004-03-17 Print this article Print

thinking?"> The problem with centralized planning done in an offshore company is that the planners and designers dont live in the target market and so make assumptions, generally in error, based on what their local market is like or what they think the foreign market wants. In some cases, it looked like the Sony designers thought we wanted laptop computers we could use as office furniture or personal defense weapons. The Japanese market is dramatically different than the U.S. and European markets, which makes any centralization of planning in Japan foolhardy and generally unsuccessful. Though, I have to admit, Im at a loss as to how they could imagine that some of these things would ever have sold anywhere. Apple vs. Sony: Apple doesnt show its products in advance of their release, so I cant actually tell if what Sony will have will beat what Apple will have. It certainly is possible, though. This is not to say that Apple folks will move to Sony. I cant afford the hate mail that would come from making that statement even if it were true. But the new lines should attract a similar audience, making it more difficult for Apple to get new customers. Stay with me, because "should" doesnt mean "will," and well get to that in a moment.
One place where Apple does beat Sony is in product placement. This is strange, because Sony is a media company. You would think the company could place its products better in its own shows and movies. But Sony doesnt compete as Sony, and that remains one of its competitive weaknesses.
If Sony can continue to execute on the desktop and laptop designs that were shown to me, I have little doubt the market will find them compelling. If Sony could ever get the entire company on the same page, it could become dangerous. But any step in the right direction is a good step, and this was a good step for Sony. Next page: The wars over between Apple and Wintel.

Rob Enderle Rob Enderle Enderle Group 389 Photinia Lane San Jose, CA 95127

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