Sony Hit With a Clue-By-Four

This Onion Video may be the best thing that ever happened to Sony.

4 comments

  1. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    Unfortunately, they don’t realize that they’re hated, and not because their products are always crap. They’re hated because they let their tiny content division dictate what their electronics division can sell. They would do MUCH better as independent companies.

  2. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Exactly, Russ.

    A few years ago at CES I went by the Sony complex (it was much bigger than a booth) and found my way to the part of it where they were showing off portable audio recorders and players. They had their NetMD MiniDisc recorders and players, and many kinds of portable audio products, none of which recorded or played .mp3 files or streams. I asked a guy there why they let Apple and others eat their lunch with the iPod and other .mp3-capable devices. He said “MP3 is illegal.” When I pressed him to unpack that absurdity, he said Sony couldn’t make .mp3 devices because it would hurt their record business. “Oh”, I said. “Must be that ‘synergy’ you guys were talking about”.

    The main problem is that Sony doesn’t see open source as anything more than a way to cheap out. It is still a profoundly proprietary company and clueless about the ill effects of exclusivity. They make stuff that reminds me of the ’66 Peugeot 404 I once owned. It had screw-on hubcaps, so you couldn’t change the tires with a standard tire machine. You needed a tire iron and a sledgehammer. I know, because I did it myself a few times.

    Anyway, I’m not sure what Sony’s sell is any more. Their TV screens are marginally more pretty than some others, but the UIs are awful. (Not that other consumer electronics makers do much better, but Sony has set the high water mark for confusing remote controls, among other user-hostile creations.) Go to their website and all their electronics are subordinated to movies and music. And when I look at their electronics, I don’t see anything that somebody else doesn’t make better. Not cameras, computers, camcorders, whatever.

    They’ve lost me. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

  3. Matt S.’s avatar

    My parents got me a Sony e-book reader for Christmas. It was unexpected, and not anything I even knew I wanted. Sadly, my first thought upon opening the box was “Sony? What were my parents thinking?” But I knew it would break their hearts if I returned it.

    But it is a transcendently cool piece of technology. I’m in love with the design and functionality. Until I tried to actually purchase some content…

    The first book, I bought back home using my Dad’s computer. Last week, I wanted to buy a second book a few hours before I had to leave for the airport. That’s when I found out the “Sony Connect” software is not available for Linux, or even Mac. (the 2 OS’s in my house). I saw on the box it reads Adobe E-books, and so I looked into trying to buy some from Powells.com. But before buying one, I figured out it only reads *non-DRM* Adobe stuff.

    The Sony software didn’t work easily with Wine. I didn’t have time to install a VM. So what did I do? Searched a bittorrent site for my favorite author, and downloaded a pack of 167 novels and short stories in RTF for free.

    I was potential loyal customer willing to pay money! But they are apparently too clueless to actually sell me something.

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