Economy Hits Home at Sony, Yet Innovation Marches On

by Team Sony 01/26/2009

Last week, our top management announced a downward forecast revision for the year in light of the challenging global economy, the continued appreciation of the yen, tight credit and softer consumer confidence. In addition, a number of specific measures to enhance our global competitiveness were spelled-out. So clearly, there will be some belt-tightening in the months ahead.

That said, the company’s commitment to success and innovation reigns supreme. Even in the face of difficult challenges, my colleagues and I are excited about the accolades surrounding the recent debut of VAIO P series lifestyle PC and the Wi-Fi Cyber-shot G3 camera, as well as the BRAVIA television “four-pack,” including the Eco-BRAVIA, super thin BRAVIA, networked BRAVIA and 240Hz Motionflow BRAVIA HDTV sets. There’s also a lot of buzz building with respect to the progress in developing Flex-OLED technology, dye-sensitized solar cells, a remarkable sugar-based battery, and dual-image glasses that let you watch video on-the-go while keeping an eye on what’s happening around you.

Progress also continues here at Sony with respect to new Blu-ray Disc technology developments; 4K video in cinema applications; and 3D for animation, sports, games and movies for eventual viewing right in your home. And we’re all looking forward to the further evolution of PlayStation Network, adding more and more value to Sony’s consumer electronics devices.

During his recent keynote at CES, our Chief Executive Sir Howard Stringer outlined seven imperatives not only for Sony but the entire CE industry:

    1.  Embrace the fusion of industries so IT, CE and content interact seamlessly.

    2.  Adopt a service-enhanced philosophy; otherwise obsolescence threatens.

    3.  Products must be multi-functional and interconnected.

    4.  Technologies must be open so customers have choice.

    5.  Advance the new shared experience like social networks that are so good at it. (As an example, this is already being done in connection with the PS3 entertainment system.)

    6.  Create whole new value chains.

    7.  Go Green.  The world is demanding a smaller carbon footprint.

While several initiatives are well underway, these imperatives offer insight into what Sony is focusing on as we head into the future, even as the company moves quickly to adjust to the realities of the current economic environment.


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  1. guest_user wrote: January 26, 2009 4:08pm

    I’ve had problems with my Vaio notebook from the day I bought it. My experience with Sony’s customer service has been a disaster. They appear totally unwilling to stand behind the product and customer service is innept. My only way of telling my story is to vow not to buy a Sony product ever again, this is the real reason behind Sony’s me too status in today’s competitive technology marketplace.
    Goodbye Sony. You use to be the best. Now you’re simply mediocre. May you R.I.P.

  2. guest_user wrote: January 26, 2009 4:41pm

    I really hope you guys are not saving on the quality of your products. I have a BRAVIA X3500 and I love it. Very very well built. Dont try to save money on the wrong end.

  3. guest_user wrote: January 26, 2009 6:29pm

    Hi Rick,

    You don’t mention the software front, and while it might simply be implied, I would like to take the PS3 as an example:

    The hardware could do much more than what it does today (and what it did at launch time). The PS3 could have been a Media Center, a Video-On demand box, a PVR and much more, on day 1. However, it took many years to get applications and even today the PS3 hardware is far from being all it can be because the software is missing or is not edgy enough.

    Your post shows that Sony knows where it wants to be, but I hope that the company doesn’t forget that software is the lube that makes all this interconnectivity work great.

  4. guest_user wrote: January 26, 2009 11:54pm

    “3. Products must be multi-functional and interconnected.”
    So can I expect GPS built into the next Alpha DSLR’s? Sony makes GPS units, Sony embeds GPS support into many Sony products. EXIF data in images has fields awaiting GPS information. Location is integral to an image. So why don’t all Alphas have built in GPS like other Sony Products and Cameras made by your competitors who make no GPS stuff what so ever. Or at the very least let me connect some form of GPS to the camera.
    Second can I expect other Sony Alpha System peices to share common items. Like Flashes that use the same lithium Ion batteries as the bodies so we can get the most out of them. Plus in line with the Go Green side of things be able to stop using AA batteries and use much better for the environment lithium Ions which we can use over and over like we do in our cameras?
    “4. Technologies must be open so customers have choice.”
    So will Sony be creating SDKs for their DSLRs so 3rd parties can create better integration with applications such as remote/tethering software.
    Second will we then see Sony supporting DNG support for RAW in cameras, possibly fully eliminating the proprietary ARW format.

  5. guest_user wrote: January 28, 2009 2:01pm

    To Hubert’s point, yes, software development and integration is more important than ever in product development these days. In fact, Sir Howard Stringer has been our most vocal management champion of this point. Today at Sony, software and hardware engineers are working hand in hand in the earliest stages of product development. And the company’s software talent is very global, with much of it based here in the U.S.

  6. guest_user wrote: February 22, 2009 2:17am

    This is a tough economy that has been a challenge for people to say the least.

    I think companies like Sony will stand tallest in these difficult times like Chase bank and Bath & Body Works, where the company is operating in industries with ailing companies and offerings but they are still moving forward.


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