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Sony To Cut About 10K Jobs

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the fewer-trinitron-crafters dept.

Businesses 178

Pichu0102 writes "Reported by the Washington Post, Sony says it will cut about 7% of its jobs as well as sell about $1 billion of it's assets. It also will declare a loss for this year." From the article: "To help boost efficiency, Sony said it has abolished the company system that Stringer said was preventing different business units from communicating freely, causing overlap in development and missed opportunities in the market. The electronics group will be reorganized to place centralized decision-making over key business areas under Ryoji Chubachi, who became Sony's new president and electronics CEO in a major overhaul of management in June." Another reorg on the heels of Microsoft's decision from earlier this week.

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178 comments

Heh (0, Troll)

daniil (775990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622889)

Must be the pirates' doing. Now you see what p2p can do.

No... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623071)

Must be the pirates' doing. Now you see what p2p can do.

It's the iPod's doing. Crufty Apple Computer has taught Sony a thing or two with this toy.

the new Sony Walkman: "Please clean out your desk and walk, man."

Re:Heh (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623111)

I doubt it, Their content side is pretty profitable, the Music and Video is doing fine and so are the Games groups.

Much of the core jobs they will be killing off will be in the dead end lines like PS2 and PS3. Sony is getting away from console games and right into implant based ones.

A small surgical procedure and you get both full sensory control of your game space and feeding tube with an optional caffine drip right into your blood stream.

Who needs Heroin when you got SimStim?

Re:Heh (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623211)

Nonsense, this is just more evidence that UMDs are really taking off!

(Isn't that Sony's comment about everything these days? "We've managed to sell ten UMD disks to the five people who bought PSPs! That's 200% market penetration!", "We've sold more UMD copies of last year's blockbuster than the poorest selling DVD sold when DVDs came out! Therefore they're successful!", "Three new people have bought PSPs! This proves UMDs are taking off!", "We've had to sell the Vaio line to Amstrad, because otherwise we just wouldn't have the production resources to make the sell-out UMD systems!", "People aren't buying mini-discs any more. Isn't it obvious? They want UMDs instead!", "We just had a bunch of UMDs returned! This means people are going out there and buying them!")

In all seriousness, this sucks if you're working for Sony, and I hope the poor bastards directly affected by this are able to find work quickly.

Sony going Open Source! (4, Funny)

scovetta (632629) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622901)

Sony said it has abolished the company system that Stringer said was preventing different business units from communicating freely...

Sony is going Open Source???

Re:Sony going Open Source! (1)

sloths (909607) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623319)

But will it be Linux?

What the hell is going on? (1)

dauthur (828910) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622907)

Hmm... something about this sounds fishy. Outsourcing, PS2 and other suches do not sound like "a loss for this year". Sony should be booming, considering. Perhaps it's a marketing technique? We'll soon see.

Re:What the hell is going on? (2, Insightful)

Arminius (84868) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623054)

No, it's just Sony trying to maximize profits in order to please the shareholders. Biggest source of expense in a company is usually payroll.

Re:What the hell is going on? (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623074)


Hmm... something about this sounds fishy. Outsourcing, PS2 and other suches do not sound like "a loss for this year". Sony should be booming, considering. Perhaps it's a marketing technique? We'll soon see.


No, nothing's really fishy. Excepting the play station, how many electronic products do you consider buying that have Sony at the top of the list?

Re:What the hell is going on? (1)

dauthur (828910) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623135)

VCR, DVD player, PS2, PSP, PS3 (When it comes out), phones, stereos, car disc players, Walkmen, MP3 players. That's a lot of money to be had.

Re:What the hell is going on? (3, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623205)

Five years ago, just about everything electronic I had was Sony. Nothing I've bought for the past five years has been Sony. Somewhere along the line they droped the ball, product-wise. CD players, DVD players, TVs, telephones, clock radios, etc., etc., they just slipped back in bang-for-the-buck, mostly to Korean companies. Sony just can't seem to make the price-point without cutting quality.

Re:What the hell is going on? (2, Informative)

dauthur (828910) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623272)

Sony just can't seem to make the price-point without cutting quality.

Isn't that how it works though? Similar to Subway. They can expand so massively because their costs are so low, courtesy of shit product. Low portions, bad meat, cheap suppliers. This is in contrast to Quiznos, who buys more expensive product that tastes better, better service, larger portions by far, and their meat is sliced in-house. Their problem is though, expansion. It's harder because they spend more on quality. Seems as Sony should do it as well, yes?

Re:What the hell is going on? (2, Insightful)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623258)


VCR, DVD player, phones, stereos, car disc players, Walkmen, MP3 players. That's a lot of money to be had.


Yes there's a lot of money to be had, it's just not being had by Sony anymore for the above products. They have too many competitors making decent products for less support more formats.

Re:What the hell is going on? (3, Informative)

bushidocoder (550265) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623352)

VCR's, and DVD players have deep market penetration already - there is continuing growth, but its not what it was, and its much lower margin than when the technology is new and booming. Same with PS and PS2 - most everyone who wanted one has one by now.

The phone market right now is being dominated by the mobile manufacturers, and Sony doesn't have a piece of that. Their walkman and MP3 player line was a complete bust because of their ridiculously greedy DRM system and its probably too late to try and compete against Apple in that market now unless they jump on the relatively unprofitable WMP bandwagon. PSPs have sold okay, but they're not the market leader there.

I'm pretty sure that they're still doing okay in the TV market which is a solid growth market, but they have serious competitors that take a large portion of that pie.

I'm no expert in media sales, but I don't think Sony's music and movies have been too high on the charts this year. I might be wrong, I just haven't noticed much of the Sony label. Their content business is huge, and when it takes a hit, the whole company does.

hmm (0, Offtopic)

andy_fish (557104) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622917)

the "It is what IT is" graphic flashes every time I mouse-over it.

Oh I'm suppossed to talk about the Sony thing? Hmm, sucks for them.

Proprietary Employees? (1, Funny)

FrontalLobe (897758) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622922)

I feel for the people losing their jobs... Will the be compatible with other companies?

Re:Proprietary Employees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13622950)

Yes. Especially 'Head Vat Operator' at McDonalds.

Seriously. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13622923)

Who in their right mind would want to watch shit-quality movies on their PSP? Whoever came up with that idea should be shot.

So does this reorg mean... (5, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622924)

That Sony electronics will have greater control over their products?

My understanding may be flawed, but it seemed that the Electronics division was having problems with the Entertainment division sticking their nose in and making life difficult. Instead of having an MP3 player, they had ATRAC players that would convert your MP3's for you. It was only after the first release tanked they brought out a new line that would natively play MP3, ATRAC, and (I think) AAC.

If the Electronic division is allowed to flourish and tell Entertainment to mind its own business, they will probably stand a greater chance to make products that people want, instead of want the Entertainment division wants to control.

Of course, this is all just my opinion - I could be wrong.

Re:So does this reorg mean... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13622963)

Yeah, but what use will the products from the Electronic division be when the entire Entertainment division goes tits up because of piracy?

Re:So does this reorg mean... (1)

Radres (776901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623005)

Sony's attempts to circumvent piracy by releasing a crippled "MP3" player were less than futile. When the old business model starts to fail, you shift focus to the new business model that is working.

Re:So does this reorg mean... (2, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623081)

Agreed - I think that Sony spent more money and effort fighting "piracy" when they really meant "lock in", and paid the price for it.

There are legitimate ways of fight piracy (going after black market mass CD production dealers, for example) that are more effective than annoying customer base.

Re:So does this reorg mean... (1)

Radres (776901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622981)

Damn, you beat me to it while I was searching the slashdot archives for the relavent story about how Sony admitted that ARTAC was dumb.

Re:So does this reorg mean... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623000)

You probably would have found a lot more articles if you had spelled ATRAC correctly :)

Re:So does this reorg mean... (1)

reezle (239894) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622995)

Speaking as a person who bought one of those 'ATRAC only-ReRip all of your CD' devices from Sony, Id have to say you're right on the money...

Re:So does this reorg mean... (2, Insightful)

mikers (137971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623040)

According to the FA:

"... We are going to achieve our goals by breaking down the existing silo walls and eliminating the highly decentralized structure we've maintained in the past," said Stringer, a former journalist..."

So, no. Electronics will not have greater control over their products. Think "greater control" and "division" as in "Stalin" and "Communism".

Re:So does this reorg mean... (0)

craXORjack (726120) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623062)

ATRAC? I didn't buy one because I thought the salesman was trying to sell me an 8-Track!

Re:So does this reorg mean... (4, Informative)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623154)

That Sony electronics will have greater control over their products?

I doubt it - Stringer was (and still is) head of Sony US. Most Sony US profits came from content licensing - not eletronics.

Before Sony, he was president of CBS Broadcast Group (who make content and not electronics)

PBS has an interesting interview [pbs.org] with Stringer, where his philosophies are pretty much stated:

If you take general copyright-based products, the United States pretty much dominates the world. It's the fastest growing aspect of our GDP, about 5 percent of the GDP, about $80 billion of overseas sales in simple copyright-based entertainment of one kind or another

I think its pretty obvious where this guy is coming from and what Sony are expecting from him.

We can expect worse from Sony in the future. Not better.

Loss follower (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13622934)

""Reported by the Washington Post, Sony says it will cut about 7% of it's jobs as well as sell about $1 billion of it's assets. It also will declare a loss for this year.""

Man! Anything to lower those P2P prices.

Who would have thought... (1)

kurt_ram (906111) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622943)

Who would have thought that a company like Sony is having such difficulties. It is shocking and sad to know that Sony is going to post a "Loss" for the year. On the other hand, from the point of view of the consumer... I would think this is a good thing since this will result in better products and competitive pricing.

Shocking? Sad? No. (2, Informative)

Urusai (865560) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623155)

Just another large conglomerate tightening up their balance sheets by firing employees they'll hire back over the next year at a fraction of the salary, perhaps by hiring them from "temp" companies.

I can't see how any /.er would feel sympathy for one of the RIAA's biggest supporters. Remember, this is also the same Sony that thinks you should be locked into proprietary formats (ATRAC, Memory Stick, MD, Beta, whatever).

I personally can't think of a single Sony item I own, either. They can fire all their employees and sink their Board of Directors in the Marianas Trench and I wouldn't care. In fact, they can sink all their "artists" over at the music division and make the world a better place.

Re:Shocking? Sad? No. (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623273)

Wow, I'm surprised that there is actually someone who hates Sony more than I do!

Kudos to you, Urusai! *bows politely*

Arr, it'll be the plank for those scalawags! Methinks, they'll be doing their "corporate synergy activities" and singing from the depths of Davy Jones' locker, yarr!

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623348)

Who would have thought that a company like Sony is having such difficulties. It is shocking and sad to know that Sony is going to post a "Loss" for the year.

I don't want to rub it in, but it's somehow fun to see Sony having money problem while all the Sony fanboys keep claiming "Nintendo is going down" or "They should stop making consoles" or "The GC is a total failure, Sony p0wned them" or "The PSP is such a success, Nintendo should stop trying".

There used to be a time when Sony could afford to sell its consoles at a loss and make it up with profits from other parts of the company, but methinks they will have to put a pretty high pricetag on the PS3 if they can't afford to lose money on the hardware anymore.

Apostrocity (-1, Offtopic)

minginqunt (225413) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622949)

"Sony says it will cut about 7% of *its* jobs"

its == belonging to it
it's == it is

It's not difficult. Sheesh.

Martin

Re:Apostrocity (1, Offtopic)

Z0mb1eman (629653) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623038)

Thank you.

Especially since that error showed up in two consecutive sentences.

I'm starting to lose hope that people will ever use it correctly... :(

Re:Apostrocity (0, Redundant)

notthe9 (800486) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623129)

Yeah, guys, its not that hard.

Re:Apostrocity (0, Offtopic)

f0dder (570496) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623281)

Your all loosers!!

Re:Apostrocity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623106)

Maybe Pichu0102 (the story submitter) was thinking of Sony's which would have been correct.
Yes I know this is not what he said.

Re:Apostrocity (1, Troll)

Tankko (911999) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623116)

who the fuck care's.

Re:Apostrocity (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623212)

No no, you've misunderstood. This is from the IT section of slashdot. Sony is cutting 7% of the jobs belonging to IT. it's jobs. I'm sure that's what they meant.

Yet the recording side had no trouble... (5, Insightful)

Radres (776901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622952)

The recording side of Sony had no trouble communicating to the MP3 player side [slashdot.org] the fact that they should do what they can to restrict users from copying songs freely. Stupid things like forcing users to convert from MP3 to ARTAC and limiting them from copying a song more than 3 times (which was easy enough to circumvent) still leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth 5 years since I received a Sony "MP3" player for Christmas that at the time was worth $300.

Slashdot to cut apostrophes (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13622959)

In a stunning move to increase its literacy level to the grade 3 level, Slashdot editors announced that they will eventually learn the difference between ITS and IT'S. Although no time table was given, pundits think that 15 years from now, a Library of Congress full of Beowulf clusters of unused apostrophes might accumulate because of this.

Record Label (0)

Krast0r (843081) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622962)

The Sony Record label and Recording Studios have been slowly laying off staff for around 2 years now, recently their main UK recording studio closed down completely. This seems to be a continuation of this, slowly laying off staff to try and increase dwindling sales. The fact is, they now have major competition in every major market they are in. In the music buisness they have p2p, Apple and rival music labels to worry about. In the Console market they are involved in one of the biggest marketing wars ever with the monolith of Microsoft and in the hand-held console market they are fighting Nintendo. Sony's competition in every market is a who's who of electronics and software corporations. After laying off this staff, they should have enough money to keep the marketing campaign going until the PS3 comes out, which is bound to make them a large amount of revenue. This could be one of the more intersting corporate stories next year.

Re:Record Label (3, Informative)

Feynman (170746) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623029)

slowly laying off staff to try and increase dwindling sales

Of course, laying off staff won't actually increase sales. Decrease costs? Yes.

which is bound to make them a large amount of revenue

Revenue and profit are very different beasts, too.

Believe me...I know these things. After all, I used to work for JDS Uniphase [yahoo.com] .

Re:Record Label (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623046)

They think the average consumer will buy more of their products knowing they are laying off staff.

Re:Record Label (0, Offtopic)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623173)

Sony needs a market all her very own where others won't beat her on market share, inovation, and new products....I KNOW! Bring back the ......BETAMAX!

Re:Record Label (1)

dswan69 (317119) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623335)

I hope it is true and that their entertainment division will continue to hemorrhage, ultimately going where they deserve...out of business. One less criminal organisation in the world.

Y-Nos (-1, Offtopic)

sharkfish (54213) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622969)

Ynos (pronounced winos) is Sony spelled backward.

Lame Sony (-1, Flamebait)

Elranzer (851411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622970)

They just can't admit that their PSP was a failure and that Blu-Ray (aka BetamaxDisc) and the PlayStation3 are going to bankrupt them. Instead they take it out on their employees and continue to push their doomed technology. Lame Sony, lame.

Re:Lame Sony (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623073)

Ant they are supposed to do what?
Declare bankruptcy and "take it out on their employees" allowing the creditors to acquire "and continue to push their doomed technology".

Either way the employees would be out of work.
-nB

Re:Lame Sony (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623113)

wtf man?

how would saying "WERE FUCKED!!!!" save those jobs ?? instead of going bankrupt they reorganize like they fucking should, at least then not all of their employees end up unemployed.

(oh and parts of this whole thing would be to prevent overlapping, like pda/computers vs. psp)

Dude, what are you talking about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623257)

Sony is not just a video game company. They have many divisions in many areas of business. The game division probably has very little to do with the current reorgs and layoffs within Sony, in fact in the last couple years the game division is actually consistently doing better than the rest of the company.

Re:Lame Sony (1)

Elranzer (851411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623284)

how would saying "WERE FUCKED!!!!" save those jobs
Well abandoning the PSP, and consolidating with Toshiba in favor of the HD-DVD would have prevented most of this nonsense.

Sony is willing to risk jobs and billions of dollars in favor of having control (and royalties) over the Blu-Ray/BetamaxDisc medium instead of going for another open-forum standard like the original DVD was.

And regarding the PSP, that was just an obvious and total failure. I'm sure there's like 5 or 6 Slashdotters who enjoy their limited run 1.5 BIOS PSP running illegal emulators in stretched resolution (all of which can be done easier and better on the GPX2, besides the fact that all future PSP's cannot be hacked and will require BIOS updates for future games if they do get hacked), but the PSP is a general failure.

Then there's the PS3, well, the costs involved there speak for itself...

Re:Lame Sony (1)

jhutch2000 (801707) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623344)

Son, the DVD and the new HD-DVD are not any more open-forum standards than Blu-ray. There are patents covering every aspect of the DVD and HD-DVD specs, just like Blu-ray, and someone gets paid for every DVD in your collection. What is wrong with Sony wanting to be that someone? (Especially when they have the better technology.)

Re:Lame Sony (2, Informative)

Elranzer (851411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623418)

With DVD's, the DVD Consortium makes a profit (this consists of Toshiba, Panasonic/Matsushita, Sony and a bunch of others). Lots of companies make money on the DVD. With Blu-Ray, Sony wants to hog all of the profits for themselves. The market calls for another consortium with not just one company controlling the medium. One would have thought Betamax would have taught them a lesson, cuz they were better than VHS technically anyway.

Considering that despite the lesser storage capacity, the HD-DVD seems to have better DRM and scratch-resistance than the Blu-Ray, I don't see how Blu-Ray is necesarily "better". Plus Blu-Ray players have been announced to need to connect [slashdot.org] to some kind of servers to activate otherwise they "punish" you, as well as having self-destruct codes [slashdot.org] .

Re:Lame Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623287)

Let me guess, you are:

1) 15 years old
2) Play Halo after school with you dorky friends from school

Re:Lame Sony (1)

Elranzer (851411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623339)

Try:

1) 23 2) IT professional and graduate student 3) Better at making preditions than you, apperently.

Re:Lame Sony (4, Informative)

Elranzer (851411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623300)

Also lets not forget that Sony is the head of *both* of Slashdotters' favorite two orgainaizations: the RIAA and the MPAA.

This has been coming awhile. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13622971)

This is just the first byproducts of the management shakesups that happened in Sony at the beginning of this year (new CEO, recognition the company was poorly coordinated, etc). It has nothing to do with Microsoft.

A symptom (5, Insightful)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622976)

This is what happens when one half of your company is fighting with (and suing) the other half: either decide to sell music and movies, decide to sell mp3 and DVD burners, or find something other than an arms race to struggle to create/defeat unbreakable protection schemes.

Needs to do more than that (1)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622982)

Sony needs to separate its hardware and entertainment division. This has been the major cause of their lack of focus and therefore lack profitability. FTA it seems its competitors are only in hardware.

Maybe Stringer is (slowly) turning it into a pure hardware company.

The end of Sony... (0, Offtopic)

dextroz (808012) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622989)

All that proprietary "this dick needs this hole" bullshit is finally over... I want my free sex now!

Why is slashdot so ugly now (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13622990)

Yuck. And fix the front page you losers!

Sony (4, Interesting)

mikers (137971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622992)

Yeah, I remember when I stopped buying Sony products. Probably about 6 years ago today. My guess is that is probably when their troubles started.

Sony has this nack for being extremely hard-headed. They stuck to their Beta machines, and missed the entire VCR explosion; they stuck to minidisc and DPMS (copy prevention tech) and refused to even license the technology for the longest time. Copying from minidisc has always been severely hobbled.

Sony Trinitron was the $hit for many years. Except when they got ridicously over priced.

Then Sony missed the whole MP3 bandwagon, instead pushing their ATRAC DPMS enabled system -- which nobody wanted (sounds like Beta all over again).

Memory Stick -- another locked down format from Sony.

Turns out Copy protection schemes just don't sell very well (exception: IPod .. not the rule).

m

Re:Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623075)

Memory Stick -- another locked down format from Sony.


Which is why every all-in-one card reader has licenced the Memory Stick socket -- and gadzooks! a Memory Stick Pro socket as well!

Re:Sony (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623246)

Memory Stick -- another locked down format from Sony.

Which is why every all-in-one card reader has licenced the Memory Stick socket -- and gadzooks! a Memory Stick Pro socket as well!

Finding a reader was never the issue. The problem is that Memory Stick is a closed, Sony-controlled format. Subsequently, while the rest of the industry was driving the price down and the storage room up on formats like Compact Flash, Memory Stick products consistently cost 40% more and languished at least a full step behind in capacity. Add to this the fact that three dozen odd manufacturers were using the interchangeable CF format for all manner of devices, and people who bought Memory Stick could only use it in Sony products. Who gives a crap if all readers can read Memory Stick when the only way to write to it is with a Sony product?

Re:Sony (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623148)

It isn't so much that Sony is "hard-headed" but rather than they don't seem to be able to learn from their mistakes. One mistake Sony seems to have made repeatedly is to try to market proprietary media formats. All the examples you mention are examples one or both of two mistakes:

Betamax vs. VHS: Betamax was there first, but noone wanted to deal with Sony's excessive licensing requirementss.. Their competitors told Sony to get fscked and defined a new, free format: VHS.

Minidisk: Yet another proprietary format that noone wanted to license. Everyone went with whatever alternatives were available (DAT, and later CDR). Being the first media format with DRM-type restrictions didn't help either.

Memory Stick: Yet another proprietary format that noone wants to license. Also, any information about the format is restricted, preventing linux drivers for memory stick readers. That may be related to later versions that try to introduce DRM-type limitations.

ATRAC: Same thing again. Proprietary format noone will lincense and DRM.

The pricing of trinitron TVs is just marketing BS. For a while, they were worth the money just because the picture quality was so poor on everything else. Eventually competitors started to pay a little more attention to picture quality. Sony relied on the good name from when trinitron tubes really were better to demand a higher price. Anyway the TV thing really doesn't fit with the rest.

Re:Sony (1)

ninjagin (631183) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623168)

Agreed. They've always been locked down to their own formats. I have to confess that I've liked their design aesthetic, but good looks only go so far.

My main beef with Sony (apart from their tightfisted approach to formats) is that their laptops and desktops all use proprietary versions of hardware and drivers. You can only get the parts from sony, and you have to use the sony-fied drivers or you get crap.

One example I'll never forget is when my old boss told me that he wanted the OS on his micro-tiny vaio laptop to be reinstalled, after an HD wipe. He didn't spring for the $400 external -=CDROM=- drive, so you could not boot to the install disk. The machine came with all the system restore disks, but without that drive, you could not use them. I did manage to get an XP installation on it without having to boot from the CD (using a $45 external USB CDROM drive), but it was nearly unusable because the little HD would not let go of the old Win2K partition. It was dual-boot WinXP/Win2K and there wasn't much space left to do anything, and the display drivers were not quite right, so it'd lock up from time to time. What a headache.

Re:Sony (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623189)

Turns out Copy protection schemes just don't sell very well (exception: IPod .. not the rule).

I bought my iPod before DRMed AAC; there was an upgrade later so you could play AAC and DRMed AAC files on the iPod. The only DRM on my iPod when I got it was a sticker on the screen saying "Don't steal music". It was only after the iPod exploded onto the scene that Apple expanded it from being an MP3/WAV only device.

They're blinded by domestic success (2, Insightful)

tentimestwenty (693290) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623191)

The thing is Sony gets a lot of support in Japan for these formats. It's like Americans buying American cars. They're probably more than a little blinded by the success at home and need a central power structure who can look outward and realize the future lies in open standards for the whole world, packaged in the nicest possible way. They can take a lesson from Apple.

Re:Sony (2, Informative)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623214)

VHS - They didn't miss the VHS bus entirely. You can still buy Sony VCRs. Don't forget, they sold (and still sell) a shitload of DVD players and DVD recorders.

Minidisc - They sold a lot of Minidisc equipment in Asia, but not necessarily in the US. I have a minidisc recorder. It's still my favorite way to record through microphones and radio broadcasts. Plus they didn't solely rely on Minidisc. They made good CD Players, and nowadays their mid-range DVD players are very good.

Trinitron - The Wega TV was very, very popular.

MP3 - Yeah they missed the boat due to their ownership of Content. Oh well, looks like they're learning.

Memory Stick - You can buy these from at least 3 different companies now, and the prices have dropped (although they are still somewhat pricier than CF or SD).

I know Sony has made a lot of mistakes, but Cmon, most electronics companies on earth would love to be in their place. They make very good, very popular units for everything from Tvs to DVD Players, to laptops, on and on. Let's cut them a little slack here. I find few mistakes over the years, taking into account how many successes they've had. Not to mention the PS2, probably the most succesful game console of all time.

That's not a bad track record for one company!

Re:Sony (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623304)

Plus we'll see how well Blue Ray works out.

ATRAC and DRM in portable players (4, Informative)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622993)

Pretty much every music device that Sony released was crippled in one way or another. I loved the MD format, long battery life, and the ability to store the equivalent of 128Mb of MP3s on a $2 disk. But all of Sony's MD, CD and flash players would only play ATRAC (or a variation thereof). This would not have been a problem if ATRAC were an open standard.

But converting MP3s or CDs to ATRAC required Sony's drivers and software (which never worked in Linux). This HAS to be the buggiest and most DRM ridden software I ever used. I was so frustrated with it that when I got a free 128Mb RCA Lyra MP3 player, I just sold my MD player and the 50-ish MDs that I had (40 of them blank, because I couldn't bring myself to record them all).

Sony may have added support for other formats recently, but I got burnt once with their MDs. Unless they offer compelling new features over their competition, I don't see a reason I'd ever consider another Sony product.

Department of redundancy department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13622994)

Mostly from the Obscure-and-incompatible-connectors-and formats division, no doubt.

There will be much mourning in the IT industry...

Call it the iPod effect... (5, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 8 years ago | (#13622997)

Call it the iPod effect - Sony's stockholders were not too pleased to see the people who brought you the Walkman get smacked around by the fucking iPod.

Re:Call it the iPod effect... (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623366)

The Walkman had a record button.

Strategic Business Management (4, Interesting)

joelparker (586428) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623012)

Sony was my final project for my recent Strategic Business Management course.

My group found that Sony's division conflicts were ruining Sony's strategic opportunities. A simple example is Sony's music division prohibiting Sony's electronics divsion from building DRM-free MP3 players.

A more complex example is Sony's movie division failing to work with with Sony's games division-- thus we get the PSP that can play movies, but there's no Sony "iMovies" store ready. What a strategic goof!

Our strategic management recommendation was for Sony to bring in new leadership, specifically someone to rock the boat and get the divisions working together.

Oh For Pull Down Menus (1)

ngr8 (504185) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623222)

My group found that Sony's division conflicts were ruining Sony's strategic opportunities. A simple example is Sony's music division prohibiting Sony's electronics divsion from building DRM-free MP3 players.

Oh for pull down menus...

My group found that (Sony/ATT/Digital Equipment Corporation/Ford/The White House)'s division conflicts were ruining (Sony/ATT/Digital Equipment Corporation/Ford/The White House)'s strategic opportunities.

A simple example is (Sony/ATT/Digital Equipment Corporation/Ford/The White House)'s (music/longlines/ VMS/SUV/Turdblossom) division prohibiting (Sony/ATT/Digital Equipment Corporation/Ford/The White House)'s (electronics/wireless/UNIX/Hybrid/Moderate) divsion from building (DRM-free MP3 players/profit/cheaper boxen/fuel efficient cars/bigger tents).

Re:Strategic Business Management (1)

j-joshers (880017) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623262)

Wow, your group discovered the exact same thing I discovered three years ago when Wired wrote an article about it. Hooray college!

ObPostrophe (0, Offtopic)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623014)

Courtesy of Bob [angryflower.com]

1mod 0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623020)

theorists - P=rospects are

Television Company (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623021)

Sony made it as a television manufacturing company. They never completely understood other businesses. Their shotgun approach at trying other products occasionaly got lucky and often were complete failures alienating some customers. I've been burned so many times by Sony gizmo failures that I gave up on them.

Sony has forgotten about the rigourous quaility control and innovation that made them a manufacturing giant. Like many big technology companies, they have been taken over by marketeers and accountants.
The visionless have replaced the visionaries and Sony remains a cautionary tail for companies and nations that abondon mercantilist precsion for globalist rhetoric.

Remedial grammar lesson (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623078)

its == possessive of it
it's == it is

gah! == my exclamation upon reading the botched summary

Is that... (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623089)

Is that 10K decimal : 10,000

10K hex : 65,536

or

10K binary: 10,240 ?? ( I just hate my Sony car CD player-- no way I see to turn off the barber-pole advertising-- front-panel eject button too easy to hit-- other buttons too hard to hit-- and it often thinks it has a CD in it when it doesnt-- yechhh! )

Re:Is that... (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623137)

It's 10 Kelvin jobs, the guys wearing jeans.

10000 binary = 16, not 10240!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623149)

Goddam schmo, you try to make a geek joke only to fall flat on your face. Go back to elementary school you hippy.

Sony could dissapear for all I care (3, Interesting)

dbfruth (707400) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623092)

Sony has been on a downward slide for quite some time. If they could just get over their "not invented here" mentality and not try to reinvent the wheel every time a new technology comes along. There is nothing wrong with taking something good and simply making it better and more compelling. If Sony made cars it would have square wheels and they would convince you that it was much better that way since you didn't need brakes anymore which by the way were also not invented at Sony.

Reorg overdue (3, Insightful)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623098)

This is a good development for Sony. Its organizational structure has been overpartitioned for a long time, so that it has functioned not as a single organism but as several, sometimes competing, ones.

For example, Sony used to have something like five different divisions which developed and marketed video cameras. This kind of effect is going to arise sooner or later in any large organization, but a bit of refactoring and consolidation now and then has to be a good thing.

Re:Reorg overdue (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623169)

This is common in Japanese corporations. Keiretsu [everything2.com]

Guilt trip... (0, Troll)

inkdesign (7389) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623109)

Sony just wants everyone to feel bad for them, so they will be more inclined to buy a PS3.

New Ad Campaign Not Working? (0, Flamebait)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623166)

Sony: Because Caucasians Are Just Too Damn Tall

Hard nosed Scot (1)

cswinter (860605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623186)

It seems to make sense disposing of duplicated functionality in the work force. interesting that it took the appointment of a non-japanese CEO i.e. a Scot to implement it.

"reorg of management" (2, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623193)

a major overhaul of management in June

Should be read as "bonuses for management, layoffs for everyone else".

Eliminating silos a good thing (4, Informative)

nellardo (68657) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623204)

I haven't read Howard's announcement in detail yet, but my first impression is pretty good. Several years ago, I worked for Sony Corporation of America (for a while there, Howard was my boss's boss). Getting the different operating companies to work together for the good of the larger corporation was extremely difficult. Management for each operating company was compensated based on the performance of that individual operating company. Music execs got paid well when they sold lots of music. This went down to a fairly fine grain - Sony Classical was extremely happy to have the soundtrack to "Titanic" on their label. There was no motivation for the music company to do something to benefit the electronics company, and vice-versa. The Playstation company was making so much money, they went off and did their own thing entirely.

Eliminating the barriers between the operating companies will be a painful transition, but all in all, probably a good thing.

I'm not particularly in favor of eliminating jobs, though 7% over half a year isn't much - most of that is probably natural attrition. When Sony cut jobs while I was there, it was all attrition, and I think it was 4 or 5%.

The market doesn't seem to like it - Sony is down about 100 yen against a share price of 4000ish since the announcement, but the market may have been expecting something more dramatic. Anyway, my initial $0.02.... ObDisclaimer - I haven't worked there for years, I don't consult for them, and I don't own their stock.

buy startups instead of creating their own stuff (2, Interesting)

demon411 (827680) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623275)

or maybe they need to start buying start ups instead of trying to create there own proprietary stuff, big companies are bad at innovation cause their existing technologies and products tend to prevent it.

accoriding to paul graham, big companies can't do product development. [paulgraham.com]

From Sony: (0, Troll)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623299)

Sony writes:

We are very simple people with very small penis. We cut 10000 jobs to make average penis size larger, more like Apple or Microsoft penis. This make competition fairer over all.

Doomed! (1)

Agilus (471376) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623350)

Sony is teh Doomed!

Oh, sorry, I forgot. This only happens if -Nintendo- posts a loss. :)

Sony, blechh (3, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623381)

Ever since I invested heavily in MD equipment first introduced by SONY, willingly paying the bleeding edge tax for what I thought was cool technology, and ever since Sony kept a white-knuckled grip on the control and licensing of that technology, effectively keeping the price sky high, and effectively killing it as a potential great medium, and effectively rendering my speculative investment worthless, I've avoided them like the plague.

Sony is very close to being the Microsoft of the electronics industry, except they haven't managed to garner the same dominant position (percentage-wise) in the electronics market as Microsoft has in the OS/software market. But, they keep trying with heavy-handed business practices, sky high (artificially) pricing, and proprietary non-interoperable (think memory sticks, "mp3" (heh) players, etc.) gadgets.

Maybe this shakeup can bring a change in attitude, a change in latitude, to their approach. I doubt it. But I can hope.

s/it's assets/its assets (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623410)

Seriously, 'editors', I'll copy-edit this stuff for you for nothing, or you can continue to be scoffed at by third graders. Your choice.

PS3 (1)

McLetter (915953) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623411)

I think this might be a necesarry step for them to be able to build and sell the PS3 for less than $384570394857345, in order to actually compete with X Box 360.
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