How the Tech Parade Passed Sony By   Leave a comment

“The time for Sony to change is now,” said Mr. Hirai, who formally took up the C.E.O. post on April 1. He posed for the cameras, one finger held high in a No. 1 sign. “I believe Sony can change,” he said.

Outside Sony — and inside it, too — not everyone is quite so sure.

That is because Sony, which once defined Japan’s technological prowess, wowed the world with the Walkman and the Trinitron TV and shocked Hollywood with bold acquisitions like Columbia Pictures, is now in the fight of its life.

In fact, it is in a fight for its life — a development that exemplifies the stunning decline of Japan’s industrialized economy. Once upon a time, Japan Inc., not to mention Sony itself, seemed invulnerable. Today, Sony and many other Japanese manufacturers are pressed on all sides: by rising Asian rivals, a punishingly strong Japanese yen and, in Sony’s case, an astonishing lack of ideas.

No one was terribly surprised last week when Sony announced that its losses this year would be worse than it had expected. Sony, after all, hasn’t turned a profit since 2008. It now expects to lose $6.4 billion this year. The reason is plain: Sony hasn’t had a hit product in years.

The verdict of the stock market has been swift and brutal. Sony’s share price closed at 1,444 yen ($17.83) on Friday, a quarter of its value a decade ago and roughly where it stood in the mid-1980s, when the Walkman ruled. Sony’s market value is now one-ninth that of Samsung Electronics, and just one-thirtieth of Apple’s.

Even in Japan, where many consumers remain loyal to the brand, some people seem to be giving up on the company.

“It’s almost game over at Sony,” said Yoshiaki Sakito, a former Sony executive who has worked for Walt Disney, Bain & Company, Apple and a start-up focused on innovation training. “I don’t see how Sony’s going to bounce back now.”

Sony’s gravest mistake was that it failed to ride some of the biggest waves of technological innovation in recent decades: digitalization, a shift toward software and the importance of the Internet.

The bottom line is: if you want to be perceived as a creator of cool tech, you have to create cool tech. The challenge for Sony is that those examples have not been there, and they haven’t been there now for a number of years,” said Steve Beck, founder and managing partner at cg42, a management consulting firm that focuses on brand vulnerabilities at top tech companies. “The tarnish on their brand has definitely begun.”

 

I never realized the decline of Sony until reading this article. However, now thinking about it, what has Sony done to compete with companies like Apple or Samsung? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. The only Sony product I can think of are televisions but in terms of phones, hand-held devices, or other technologies that are popular, I can’t call to mind any. I own a Sony telvision and I do like it but now knowing that their business is going down the toilet, I would think twice about buying their products again. I wonder if someone will buy out the company or will Sony really turn things around.

 

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Posted April 16, 2012 by annabellecunningham18 in Uncategorized

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