There are very few companies in the world whose name provoke not just recognition, but affection. Sony, whose products defined gadgetry in my youth, has lost its way. I want them back. I miss loving Sony.
We’ve spent the last few weeks talking to Sony customers, Sony employees, even Sony’s detractors in an attempt to figure out what’s gone wrong. It’s become clear that even the major upheavals and reorganisations over the last few years haven’t fully taken hold. And while Sony isn’t doomed by a long shot, their inability to provide a cohesive platform and the products people really want to buy may greatly diminish their influence over the future of consumer electronics.
When you think who will lead us in the coming years, it always comes back to Google, to Apple, to Microsoft. Why not Sony? Ten years ago it would have been inconceivable to think of the world of technology and not consider Sony a key driver. Today many consider it to be what one interviewee calls “just another electronics company”. What happened?
It’d be a shame if Sony continued down this path. Sony still makes quality products – they just aren’t great. Their engineering chops are second to none, but result in well-built products that only engineers could truly love. They’ve mismanaged their strongest brand, PlayStation. They’ve left smartphones in the hands of a bumbling partnership with Ericsson when their competitors have put smartphones in the centre of their strategy. And they’ve let a titanic asset, their library of music, film, and television unmatched by any of their competitors, become an anchor that has slowed innovation and customer satisfaction.
Over the next few days, we’re going to explore where Sony screwed up and what they can do to fix it.
Because ultimately, we want to believe in Sony. It’s time they make us believe.