Good Wired article on Sony

There’s a sizeable article in this month’s Wired magazine on Sony and the PlayStation3. It’s basically a broad piece talking about how the PS3 is an expensive box, how it tries to appeal to many divisions of Sony as well as to many different consumers, and also endeavors to push forward Blu-Ray in a similar manner as the PS2 pushed forward the DVD format.
They call out Howard Stringer’s “Sony United” philosophy and point out how it is reminiscent of “Transformation 60” and other previous efforts to reinvigorate the company.
When I was an employee of Sony I will admit that I was a huge fan of the philosophy “Sony United”. It is clear to everyone who works with Sony or in Sony that the company is a loose collection of nation-states, sometimes with competing interests, and it does not operate as a single cooperative entity. The PSP hardware was one shining example of Sony’s divisions cooperating with each other to achieve a common goal – various pieces of the machine were created in various divisions throughout the company. However, long term, can anyone really say that the PSP has seen that same cooperation post-launch? Where is the UMD player for my home AV system? Why can’t I plug my Memory Stick Pro Duo from my camera directly into my PSP and view all the pictures and videos? And what happened to Sony Connect?
It’s not clear to me that the “Sony United” philosophy ever moved beyond Howard Stringer and press releases. If it had, the company would certainly be much stronger, as it is not just a wonderful idea – it is actually something that could make Sony a powerhouse again. Sony as a company is full of smart and creative people, and its span across electronics and media, as well as its span across the globe, is what gives it an edge over other companies that attempt to focus in a single product area or operate out of a single location. But it takes strong leadership AND getting all the subsidiaries aligned in order to shift the organization. That last part… when will it happen? Will it be in time? I sure hope so.
Check out the Wired article, on a newsstand near you.