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Old November 22nd, 2012, 04:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What went wrong with Sony?

When I was a teenager, the Sony Walkman was the must-have gadget. Sony products were very highly regarded. I remember walking by a high-end electronics store and seeing the first Trinitron flat screen TV's; they made our jaws drop. If you got a Sony product for Christmas, you hit the jackpot.

Now I read that Sony hasn't made a profit in four years, and that its debt has been reduced to junk status.

Fitch downgrades Sony, Panasonic to junk - Nov. 22, 2012

What went wrong? I often hear about the strong Yen, but surely there must be more to it than that?

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Old November 22nd, 2012, 04:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Root kit, probably one.

iPod another.

Proprietary hardware, storage. another.

Other options out there as well.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 04:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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DRM. They issued CDs that could only be played on one device. If you played it in your car first, that's the only place it would play after.

Sony settles DRM rootkit lawsuit for cash, 'clean' music

Haven't trusted the buggers since.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 05:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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apple and sony.. are doing the same thing...

sony is feeling the market make its choice. apple may soon see the same ..
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 11:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sony used to make better quality stuff...and you paid more. Now their products are the same as everyone else's, but they still want to charge more for the Sony name. People caught on. Sony doesn't carry the same cache that it used to.

It's a shame, Sony used to be a great company.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 01:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Blame him....


Sony without Akio Morita is probably like Apple without Steve jobs.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 02:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Lots of things went wrong. Yeah Sony was like a Mercedes in the world of technology. I remember one of my friend who's family was pretty rich back in 90s had everything Sony.. Tvs, sound system, portable players, camcorders,cameras, vcrs and etc.

Looks like apple is going the same way..
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 07:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Good article on the BBC about it

BBC News - Viewpoint: How Sony slipped back
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 08:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Good article on the BBC about it

BBC News - Viewpoint: How Sony slipped back
Interesting article, but I disagree with a lot of it. For one, if a device maker can't succeed today, explain Samsung. For another, the xbox is not "the dominant" games console. If anything it might have a slight edge, more like even, really.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 08:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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it may have started when they made cheaper versions of previous stuff before a new release. (PS1 slim, PS2 slim, PS3 slim) that were inferior quality and was some sneaky way to get us to upgrade when a new item was released. it seems they 'slimmify' their last item (DVD, Blu Ray, PlayStation) before they release an upgrade, likely a year or so before. they think that if the item breaks the user is going to buy the new replacement. but after three PS3s did the Yellow Light of Death failure, at a cost of $249 per unit, I decided to stick with Xbox. I still like Sony's consumer items, such as clock radios, stereos and such, at least they seem well made enough. but they hardly have any products unique to their line. they got Blu Ray, which won over HD-DVD (unlike their previous attempt with Betamax vs. VHS in the 80s) but that's pretty much it. everything else is common everyday stuff (TVs, game consoles, stereos) and nothing inherently unique like the Walkman or Discman were in their day. my first CD player was a Sony Discman.

ever notice the prices of Sony products is getting lower? they no longer have the preference of the higher end part of the consumer market the way Bose still does today.

then you got the problem with trying to support too many products at a time. the PlayStation Vita for example. it's sadly going the way the Nokia N-Gage did in the early 2000s, with a great launch but no support later on, and it still has very few games available. Sony is trying to single-handedly support the PlayStation 3, Vita, and now they are focusing on the PlayStation 4 so much they can't keep up. it's also a problem that caused Sega to get out of consoles. Sega had great consoles, the Saturn and Dreamcast, but failed to follow through in the end, much like Sony is going with the Vita.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 08:38 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Have to agree with Gmash's comment. Sony were class! They made premium products, that yes were at a premium price but now..... :S. Don't get me wrong, I still like Sony but, their laptops aren't as great as they once used to be and they still want a premium price for their products. As it happens, I do have a Sony laptop, as does my partner and we both looked at other laptops but, it had to be Sony but, definitely can see the difference in quality to what it used to be.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 11:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gmash View Post
Interesting article, but I disagree with a lot of it. For one, if a device maker can't succeed today, explain Samsung. For another, the xbox is not "the dominant" games console. If anything it might have a slight edge, more like even, really.
I agree with you, I just found the article interesting if not fully correct.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 05:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I agree with you, I just found the article interesting if not fully correct.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 06:51 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I wouldn't blame Sony's downfall due to DRM, lock-in, or other "Apple-like" behavior. They were doing this for decades with impunity. Likewise for marking up their products due to the good brand name they established.

I think the beginning of the downfall started with the Playstation 3. They incorrectly assumed that the PS3 would do well simply because the PS2 did well. At the time, the blu-ray format was at its infancy. To get the full benefit of blu-ray's resolution, one needed not only the player, but a 1080p TV, which was not cheap. Not to mention that people were upset that they'd have to repurchase movies they already owned on DVD.

Sony chose to "future proof" the PS3 by bundling a blu-ray player into it. Because blu-ray was so new, the cost to produce them was high. PS3 was priced high, even though according to Sony, they priced them at cost. Even though XBox didn't offer out of the box HD movie playback (they had an add-on HD-DVD drive), the gaming console was priced lower than PS3, and people FLOCKED to the xbox. Clearly consumers were not as brand-loyal as Sony anticipated.

The walkman brand was a thing of the past once iPod became the new standard. Apple struck a deal with the music labels and provided the iTunes store as an easy way to fill those iPods with music. Suddenly, just having a good hardware mp3 player wasn't enough to compete.

That means Sony's final stronghold was the HDTV. But Samsung slowly but surely made a name for itself by cranking out very high quality TV screens at a fraction of Sony's prices. Eventually, Samsung TVs became the gold standard for a quality LCD HDTV. And now that Samsung has further enhanced its brand with its Galaxy-line phones, Sony has nothing that really stands out anymore.


TLDR: it's not due to DRM or lock-in. It was because the PS3 flopped, and other companies produced either superior products, or comparable products at lower price.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 09:24 PM   #15 (permalink)
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On a cumulative basis, Nintendo is still the king of the current console generation, with 95 million Wiis sold worldwide, compared with 66 million Xbox 360 for Microsoft and 62 million Ps3s for Sony.

^
Those numbers are a little old, but the PS3 has been far from a flop, especially considering the 360 had a big head start.

Xbox 360 tops Wii and PS3 for 1st time in yearly global sales - GeekWire
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Old November 24th, 2012, 03:15 AM   #16 (permalink)
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The amount the console sells is only half the story though as usually there isn't much profit in the hardware. You then have the peripherals like Kinect and Move plus the DLC which Microsoft does really well on, I think if it wasn't for Xbox live being so successful they probably wouldn't bother.

Will be interesting to see what comes next from Sony as Microsoft is rumoured to be releasing a cut price set top box with Kinect integrated for the next version, think the days of the traditional console are numbered.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 06:54 AM   #17 (permalink)
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i agree that sony with out Morita is apple with out Jobs.
The company skimped on the creative people and started hiring too many "smart" but not creative people and did not develop new products.
Also they expanded into too much stuff. banks, cosmetics, internet services etc etc.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 09:12 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Im not sure but their camera department just weird. They make one of the most expensive cameras with so many unique features but yet fell behind Canon and Nikon. They make everything non traditional way.. Tilt screen have awkward rotation, developed some sort of translucent mirrors, electronic view finders, Insanely complex menus with words you have to find in the dictionary or online.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 09:41 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyroket View Post
Im not sure but their camera department just weird. They make one of the most expensive cameras with so many unique features but yet fell behind Canon and Nikon. They make everything non traditional way.. Tilt screen have awkward rotation, developed some sort of translucent mirrors, electronic view finders, Insanely complex menus with words you have to find in the dictionary or online.
I'm sure Sony was never really a camera-maker, not in the traditional sense, like Nikon, Pentax or Canon. Think they bought the camera business from Kyocera or somebody, that wasn't doing too well. Sony branded SLR cameras is a fairly recent thing. They've always done really good consumer and professional video/TV cameras though.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 03:48 AM   #20 (permalink)
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From my POV Sony's decline started when then-chairman Akio Morita co-wrote a highly political and far-right leaning book entitled "The Japan That Can Say No". It may be coincidence, but around the time that Morita told the world about his protectionist ideals and disdain for their largest market, the US, Sony products sold in the US started to get really cheap and flimsy.

At the time I was working in television broadcasting, and was shocked by how crappy our newest Sony equipment was. I have less experience with Sony consumer electronics, but heard from others that Sony was doing the same thing in that market.

Needless to say, the racist and imperialist rhetoric that was all too reminiscent of Axis times, coming from the country that had to be stopped with the atom bomb was a major cause for concern. Thankfully Morita's political career went nowhere, and now he's dead.

One thing that we Americans should be aware of is that most Japanese businesses that export to the US and Europe make two different versions of the same products. One version is made in Japan, by Japanese workers and for Japanese consumers. The other version is made in whatever country (currently China) that can make them as cheaply as possible.

When it comes to Sony's stock value I have no opinion. It will be interesting to see how Japan's unique business system deals with a possible foreign takeover. My guess is that Sony isn't in any real peril, and that they'll be around for a long time to come. It's like how Hollywood movies make huge profits, but on paper they appear to be in the red. They're just playing the system.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 07:16 AM   #21 (permalink)
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The camera is still 4/3 isn't it? Plus for some, Sony didn't have a full frame camera (does now). Canon and Nikon do, and the lenses are interchangeable with the D series. Which means you can get a full frame system piecemeal if you want one. Snob/professional category.

I thought they bought Konica/Minolta.

Sony bought some sound editing software that I owned. I paid for the MP3 codec, changed computers, codec and software no longer working. Since I bought software under Soundforge name, Sony would do nothing even thought I had license, receipt, etc.

I did like the PDAs though. I still have 2 working Clies and software. (Pre DRM, probably why they worked so well.)
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Old November 25th, 2012, 09:25 AM   #22 (permalink)
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They go greedy is what i think. They charge more for average products
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Old November 25th, 2012, 03:08 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Yeah Sony was like a Mercedes in the world of technology.
Actually Mercedes are the Mercedes of technology
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Old November 25th, 2012, 07:24 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
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One thing that we Americans should be aware of is that most Japanese businesses that export to the US and Europe make two different versions of the same products. One version is made in Japan, by Japanese workers and for Japanese consumers. The other version is made in whatever country (currently China) that can make them as cheaply as possible.
my non-american perspective on that would be that there may be more Japanese consumers willing to pay more for Japanese-made, quality products.

Other consumers in other parts of the world just want high-quality yet cheap products. No such thing.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 07:29 PM   #25 (permalink)
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The PlayStation 3 was meant to have a ten year lifecycle, but seems to have been abandoned along with its PS Vita portable sibling lately, and games never seem to take advantage of the tri-core cell processor at all, thus making it seem graphically inferior. It's Move controller is an obvious ripoff of the Wiimote, but more easily broken due to the cheaply constructed plastic ball on the end of the remote. Around here the Wii is dead. They're selling at $69 or less. Far below MSRP due to the lack of demand. The 3DS is a bomb in my area as well
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Old November 25th, 2012, 09:21 PM   #26 (permalink)
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On what planet has the PS3 been abandoned?

Top 10 PS3 Exclusives To Look Forward To In 2013 « GamingBolt.com: Video Game News, Reviews, Previews and Blog
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Old November 26th, 2012, 12:22 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
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my non-american perspective on that would be that there may be more Japanese consumers willing to pay more for Japanese-made, quality products.
Compared to what nation(s)? How much more do the made-for-Japan products cost compared to the same models made outside of Japan for export to markets other than Japan? If you're saying that there is no nationalist favoritism in Japan, how do you reconcile that with Morita's book? What about The China That Can Say No: Political and Emotional Choices in the post Cold-War era?

Here in the US we're willing to pay $70,000 (for ENG-style) to $250,000+ for Japanese made video cameras (not including lenses and other ancillary equipment like tripods/pedestals), and expect the very best quality for those prices. Because the US never had nationalized television, there are a lot more TV stations and therefore broadcast quality cameras (and other products from Japan) than in any other country that I know of.

The last time I checked, the US was the largest market for costly "high end" audio and A/V equipment for home use. Has this changed? I'm not as involved in this area as I used to be.

Quote:
Other consumers in other parts of the world just want high-quality yet cheap products. No such thing.
Why not?

I used to be an avid reader of Sam Tellig's "Audio Cheapskate" column in Stereophile magazine, and managed to get some very good value. In the video department, the "prosumer" class of equipment give amazing value. Some have been used to make broadcast quality TV programs and even cinematic work.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 09:04 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Old November 27th, 2012, 08:35 PM   #29 (permalink)
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It got abandoned when they focused on over promoting childish games like little big planet and stopped offering system updates to fix the (many) bugs in the system software, such as the lag in the in game XMB to not offering cross-game chat that the Xbox (and Vita)has had since launch.

The PlayStation Vita has also flopped. Its going to end up shelved right between the Sega Dreamcast and Nokia N-gage...
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Old November 27th, 2012, 09:14 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I don't see how you can call the ps3 abandoned when it has more and better exclusives than the 360 and it is still selling well, but ok. The Vita is a great piece of hardware, but handheld consoles are on the way out because of tablets and phones. I agree that it probably won't survive the turmoil and inevitable cutbacks that will be coming to Sony. They did manage to keep the psp alive for quite awhile, though, so you never know.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 09:24 PM   #31 (permalink)
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The Vita has three things against it. No price drop (prices are the same as the PlayStation 3) proprietary memory that's pricey, and a serious lack of games.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 10:59 PM   #32 (permalink)
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The proprietary memory is one thing I hate about Sony. They could have at least stuck with the memory stick pro duo like the psp, but no, yet another new, expensive format? This is the kind of stuff where Sony shoots itself in the foot.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 11:36 PM   #33 (permalink)
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I remember having one of these back in the day....it was top of the line...

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Old November 28th, 2012, 05:28 PM   #34 (permalink)
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I saw stereos older than that. The kind with an 8-track player. And those super tall speakers, they must have wanted to set the stereo apart from the rest of the decor, given how showy they were in the 80s
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Old November 30th, 2012, 09:41 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Going back to the console sale comparison chart that Gmash posted a while ago, it'd seem that the PS3 and Xbox have been pretty much neck and neck since 2007 when both consoles were new. While I would agree the PS3 is not a complete flop and "abandoned," one needs to look at Sony's trend from further back. The PS2 was arguably as dominating as Apple's iPod in their respective markets. What would you name as a worthy competitor to the PS2 at that time? The original Xbox? Nintendo's GameCube? Or Sega's Dreamcast?

Sony went from king of the consoles to just another player. They lost a lot of long-time exclusives those first few years of the PS3. They've managed to keep up with Xbox sales, but when the Wii motion controls forced both Sony and MS to develop their own motion systems, the Kinect blew Move out of the water, though arguably, the Move had the more promising technology.

I was an early adopter of the PS3, mainly cause I had the money to blow, and I wanted the blu-ray player that wouldn't go obsolete. I don't regret my decision, but I totally relate to the purist gamers who chose Xbox360 over PS3. A lot of my friends defected.

From a corporate perspective, the PS3 was a failure because it failed to maintain or increase Sony's dominance in the console market.
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Old November 30th, 2012, 11:12 AM   #36 (permalink)
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i personally hope that sony can bring something to play.. to get the market share back. I like my PS3.

but if Xbox wins.. and get over 70% of the market.. then that is one more huge advantage over android for WP. think of all the tech nerds that will move on to the WP because of the Xbox tie in. and google has nothing that can compete there. that is a very powerful group that has huge affect on adopting tech!

unless console market just dies of and is replaced by hand helds that can provide the same onto the TV.

we need winning sony to make a huge tie into the android system.
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Old November 30th, 2012, 05:04 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Sony's motto is also not helping. Sony--it's 'Make Believe!'
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Old November 30th, 2012, 05:08 PM   #38 (permalink)
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You can't blame Sony's fall on any one product. Flat out, Sony's been mismanaged for years. From what I understand, the company is made up of a bunch of silo'd divisions that don't work together and fight with each other for corporate dominance. It made Sony as a whole slow to innovate or even keep up with the markets its in. They let the TV business slip through they're hands when they were pathetically late to market with flat screens. Now they're viewed as the choice of ill informed old timers. They let Apple eat their lunch by totally misreading the portable media player market. Somewhere deep inside Sony, they're probably still working on a hd based player to take on the first gen ipod. They are allowing MS, a company almost as slow and bloated as Sony to push them around in the gaming arena. They had a firm foothold in the small camera and video recorder arena, but squandered a lot of sales on proprietary formats that pissed off users. Now those markets are essentially dead. Can't get your own mobile strategy beyond the stillborn stage? Why not buy Ericsson and kill theirs too? Sony spent so much capital getting the public to believe they made better stuff, when the fact is they usually didn't. Eventually, the public caught on. Now they have to compete on a level field where they actually have to be better to garner sales, and they're just not better, usually not even close to average. When the almost inevitable collapse of Sony comes, they will become the subject of study in all business schools on how even the mighty can fall through gross mismanagement, along with other standouts like Pan Am, Saab and Hostess.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 06:51 PM   #39 (permalink)
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I think they should have stopped making Washing Machines. I told them to stop it but they did not listen and released the Sony WalkWasher. It made a wet mess everywhere you went, what with all that sloshing about and such.

They should have also put more R/D money into Wire Recorders and stopped fooling about with tape. Wire is forever, you know?

Rice Cookers. When Sony stopped making a good rice cooker, the end was just around the Shinto Temple.

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Sony's motto is also not helping. Sony--it's 'Make Believe!'
I believe the only time they use that slogan is at board meetings. But I could be mistaken.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 07:40 PM   #40 (permalink)
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This sort of makes me laugh. My friend was going on about how Sony was top of the line for everything. Now I'm reading this.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 08:19 PM   #41 (permalink)
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The proprietary memory is one thing I hate about Sony. They could have at least stuck with the memory stick pro duo like the psp, but no, yet another new, expensive format? This is the kind of stuff where Sony shoots itself in the foot.
Both Sony and Matsushita (Panasonic) have been trying to to lock in their big corporate and broadcast TV equipment buyers with proprietary formats. At least the P2 card adheres to an established standard (the original PCMCIA cards were for expansion RAM), even if nobody else uses it. And my Sony pro video equipment accepts standard SD cards as well as their proprietary ones. But Sony lost a sale when I needed a new laptop, partly because of the proprietary Memory Stick format. I'm still using Compact Flash media with my still cameras, and SD for everything else.

I remember when we were using MMC cards, and thought that SD cards would be a non-starter because of the built-in DRM crap. Now we don't have a choice.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 08:25 PM   #42 (permalink)
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This sort of makes me laugh. My friend was going on about how Sony was top of the line for everything. Now I'm reading this.
These days most major manufacturers are all about brand recognition, focus groups and big marketing spending. If the would take their marketing budget and use it on engineering, they'd have a product that would sell itself.

As a general rule I stay away from businesses that use costly marketing campaigns, like TV commercials and product placement. I know that every dollar that goes into marketing is a dollar that didn't go into making a quality product.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 10:16 PM   #43 (permalink)
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This sort of makes me laugh. My friend was going on about how Sony was top of the line for everything. Now I'm reading this.
Sony does still make some high end products. Problem is, you don't see most of them in your local big-box store.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 12:02 AM   #44 (permalink)
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I remember when we were using MMC cards, and thought that SD cards would be a non-starter because of the built-in DRM crap. Now we don't have a choice.
Pardon my ignorance, but what DRM?!

Last I heard, you could take any ol' SD card and pop it into any ol' device that used them and you could see and use its contents....
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 04:33 AM   #45 (permalink)
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Probably the Sonic Stage software that people were bullied into using. Even today I know of someone who claims they cannot just drag & drop because of sony software stopping them. I tell them they're wrong, they can drag & drop from one window to another... but they won't have it.

The thing wrong with sony was their mechanical moving parts. Cheap plastic buttons, dust getting into CD walkman lazer tracks, minidisc cartridge mechanisms, spring loaded memory card hatches... they all broke on me. The less moving parts for sony the better.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 06:45 AM   #46 (permalink)
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I've still got 2 working Clies. They made those well.

If I remember right, just before the PDA market died, Sony pulled a funny with the Memory sticks. The originals you just used like any SD card, but the last ones might have had some proprietary nonsense or DRM. This was at least 10 years ago, and I can't remember what, but I do remember getting annoyed about it. The camcorder uses the stupid things, too.

I'll say one thing for Panasonic. They made a microwave oven that didn't beep every minute after it was done, and said so. I had a GE that had to beep until you opened the door. Most annoying thing I've ever had.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 07:10 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Probably the Sonic Stage software that people were bullied into using.
Sonic Stage was just horrible, so unfriendly, ugly, clunky and extremely buggy. You had to use it with Sony's ATRAC Walkmans(discontinued). Friend of mine actually chucked his Walkman PMP in the bin because of it, We could never make it work properly. You had to convert all your MP3s to ATRAC, and they were wrapped in nasty DRM. There was a music store as well called Sony Connect. That sold DRM'd songs in the Sony only ATRAC format.

It's a good example of a failed Sony proprietary system.



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Even today I know of someone who claims they cannot just drag & drop because of sony software stopping them. I tell them they're wrong, they can drag & drop from one window to another... but they won't have it.
If his Walkman is less than about five years old and not an ATRAC one, he should just be able to drag & drop. Or should be able use normal software like WMP or Winamp, to put his music on it. In fact Sonic Stage won't even work with modern MP3 (non-ATRAC) Walkmans AFAIK.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 09:06 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Pardon my ignorance, but what DRM?!
DRM stands for "digital rights management." DRM prevents unfettered copying of copy-protected files like music purchased from certain websites.

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Last I heard, you could take any ol' SD card and pop it into any ol' device that used them and you could see and use its contents....
What you don't see is that ~10% of the storage capacity that you paid for is devoted to software that's ready and waiting for an application program on a computer, smart phone etc. to access it and let the application prevent copying DRMed files to the SD card.

If you're using file formats that don't support DRM, and using software other than Windows Media Player, you're not likely to see anything more than an available capacity that doesn't add up to what the label promises.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 03:30 AM   #49 (permalink)
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DRM stands for "digital rights management." DRM prevents unfettered copying of copy-protected files like music purchased from certain websites.
DRM also restricts the content on certain players and devices only. e.g. DRM movies and TV shows from Apple iTunes Store can only be played on Apple iOS devices.

The previously mentioned defunct Sony Connect store, is also a good example of DRM. Any DRM'd songs you bought from it, were restricted to Sony devices only. And now because Sony pulled the plug on it, those songs you bought can't be played at all.

TBH I prefer the term Digital Restrictions Management, as coined by Richard Stallman. Because it's all about restricting what you can do with the content. You have no rights at all with DRM. I think if you buy anything that has DRM, your only actually leasing or renting it, you're not actually purchasing it outright at all.

Apparenty with Barnes & Noble DRM'd e-books, if you close your account, they cancel all the e-books you bought from them.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 07:28 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Quote:
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DRM stands for "digital rights management." DRM prevents unfettered copying of copy-protected files like music purchased from certain websites.
It appears I misspoke. I am well aware of what DRM is and what it entails. I was asking about what DRM software could possilbly be on SD cards since I've never seen any there.

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What you don't see is that ~10% of the storage capacity that you paid for is devoted to software that's ready and waiting for an application program on a computer, smart phone etc. to access it and let the application prevent copying DRMed files to the SD card.
Wait, seriously?! I thought that was just the standard space-taken-up-due-to-file-allocation-table stuff! Then again, I guess that would explain why my 8gb SD cards apparantly need a FAT table 700 mb in size.

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If you're using file formats that don't support DRM, and using software other than Windows Media Player, you're not likely to see anything more than an available capacity that doesn't add up to what the label promises.
....And THAT explains why I've never encountered it. Practially none of my music or files have DRM on it.

Still, that is horribly disenheartening to hear about. Unless it is explicitly mentioned on the packaging, storage devices should be completely agnostic to what you put on it. If they're THAT insistent on adding incoming file-checking software on the cards, they should've added some sort of generic antivirus instead -- that would be much more beneficial use of space than worrying about "licenses", IMO.
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