Will Sony Ever Be Sony Again?

By John Dvorak  |  Posted 2006-08-15 Print this article Print

Opinion: The company used to have an innovative soul—back in the day. (PCMag.com)

Sony was once perceived as the creative young upstart Japanese electronics company that could do everything better than the competition. This company was the king of innovation. It essentially popularized the VCR (although its format lost its war), made the VCR legal (that was before it bought a Hollywood studio), popularized smaller studio video cameras, popularized the helical-scan professional VCR, created mobile audio with its Walkman, helped invent the CD, dominated the market for high-quality TV sets, and on and on. But its best skill today is to take a gun, target its own foot and shoot.
The latest fiasco is the recent revelation that Sonys Blu-ray player for the PC will not have the ability to play HD movies on the PC. This is to protect the interests of the movie makers somehow.
Are they kidding us? Click here to read more about Sonys plans for future technology. Sony has been in a steep decline as far as innovation and clear thinking are concerned for at least a decade. The first time I noticed this was around 1996, when Sony showed its first VAIO desktop computer. Nobody heard much about it, and it was a huge flop, despite being well-made. I was at a trade show when this thing was released. I specifically asked the marketing team about the machine, wondering why we got no review units at PC Magazine and in fact werent even told about the thing, either in advance or when it actually shipped. I was told flat-out that Sony wasnt interested in computer magazines, because they were going to sell the machine to the public at large. This made no sense, of course, since the public at large is overtly affected by computer magazines and what experts think about things. Thats true whether the public wants to be influenced or not. Simply bypassing the mechanism because some bonehead at the company thought it was a waste of time to talk to computer magazines was brain-dead thinking. The results were apparent. Read the full story on PCMag.com: Will Sony Ever Be Sony Again? Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

John C. Dvorak is a contributing editor of PC Magazine, for which he has been writing two columns, including the popular Inside Track, since 1986. Dvorak has won eight national awards from the Computer Press Association, including Best Columnist and Best Column. Dvorak's work appears in several magazines and newspapers, including Boardwatch, Computer Shopper, and MicroTimes. He is the author of several books on computing including the popular Dvorak's Guide to Telecommunications. His radio show, 'Real Computing,' can be heard on National Public Radio. He is also the host of TechTV's 'Silicon Spin.'

For more on John C. Dvorak, go to www.dvorak.org.


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