Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sony Bows Out of PCs

I've always admired Sony Corporation, from that day in eighth grade when my parents gifted me an AM pocket radio which was one-third the size of the better known radios from Zenith. It was a beautiful object with good sound for a great price, and I still have it, but alas no one makes the transistor which has burned out. In those days, nobody bought Japanese products because they were "cheap" and lacked our technology. Well, my radio was way ahead of its time, and Sony shook up our industrial smugness.

From there, I always admired the iconic CEO Akio Morita whose introduction of the Sony Walkman changed the way people interacted with their music.  Innovation and great design were hallmarks of the Sony brand.  I've had two of their Trinitron color televisions, each for about twenty years: the best color tube around, and they both still work.

So, it's a sad day today to learn that the new CEO, charged with rescuing Sony from its serial reorganizations and shuffling its business portfolio, announced a one billion yen loss and another restructuring which involves the sale of the Vaio computer business to a Japanese private equity group.  This line was innovative, well designed and always got high ratings from tech magazine reviewers.  Sales and market share never followed those great technical reviews.

So, yet another giant bows out of making machines which were commoditized and may be on their way to becoming dinosaurs.

Samsung, as I look at the Galaxy phone and their smart televisions, reminds me of today's Sony.  The fate of today's Sony though may be in doubt.

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