LoTN wrote on 4/15/2012, 12:53 AM
The windows Sony rootkit delivered with locked down audio CDs is missing from the story.
rraud wrote on 4/15/2012, 10:16 AM
Interesting, nothing about SCS either, no surprise there.
"The time for Sony to change is now,” said Mr. Hirai, who formally took up the C.E.O. post on April 1".
- I'm sure Mr. Hirai realized it was 'April fools day'..
Birk Binnard wrote on 4/15/2012, 12:07 PM
I thought the article was right in target. Granted, it did omit the fiasco of the CD rootkit issue but I expect either the writer was unaware of this issue or decided it was too arcane for the average Times reader.

My overall impression was "Are we witnessing the demise of a once great company before our very eyes?" I know, an extreme statement, but recent history is loaded with examples of companies who simply did not see the writing on the wall and that ultimately became Overwhelmed By Events. The OBE fate has befallen other companies who were leaders in their field, but who ultimately just didn't, couldn't,or wouldn't stay in synch with the real world.

DIsturbing indeed.
Chienworks wrote on 4/15/2012, 12:21 PM
I like the example of DEC, once the 2nd largest computer company in the world. They fell so hard sticking to their own proprietary (albeit better) technology that they ended up being bought out by Compaq, who was then bought out by HP. Is that double-OBE?

Novell started losing ground and bought up the rights to Unix to survive, but that didn't work and they ended up being parceled up by Corel and SCO. And then SCO tried to keep Unix alive with a 'revenue via lawsuit' model, which backfired miserably. Another double-OBE? In part it was due to HP's guarantee that if you used HP as your vendor they would offer you immunity from SCO's legal threats. Hmmm. HP at the end of two double-OBEs. Neat!
paul_w wrote on 4/15/2012, 12:29 PM
Just for kicks: Message to Sony:
Stop making consumer televisions, your legacy is dead - you are loosing money this way.
Keep making competitive consumer and pro video cameras, you are making money this way.
Push the boundaries of video even further - eg FS100 / FS700, keep going....
Make a firm decision on what to do with SCS, if you keep it, invest MORE, if you drop it, so be it. But no gray areas please.

There... back to my cup of tea.

RalphM wrote on 4/15/2012, 5:42 PM
The money is in consumer electronics - that is what provides the base for high cost, low volume products.
teaktart wrote on 4/15/2012, 7:39 PM
I can sure relate to many of the points in the article.

I first started with Vegas almost 10 years ago with my first camcorder. In 2005, I finally, by accident, came across an ad for a week long class in Vegas put on by Digital Media Academy at Stanford University, taught by Keith Kolbo a frequent poster here in the past. It was an excellent opportunity to finally get some hands-on training in Vegas which was extremely helpful compared to trying to learn on my own with books. There were only 6 students instead of a minimum of 8 and they never held the class again. I would have loved the opportunity to continue taking workshops like that but they aren't available anywhere that I've found in Calif let alone anywhere else. And, as someone recently posted they went for Vegas Certification in Madison and was the one and only student in the class!
A couple of years later I went to a couple of DV Expo events and never even saw a Sony booth! All the other camera and software companies were present...I felt abandoned by Sony. Meanwhile, Final Cut is offering certification classes at the events.... Sony offers nothing.
Went to NAB a few years back and again, classes and certification programs for Final Cut but not Sony.
Everyone I know in my area is a Final Cut/Mac user and I cannot find a single person who uses anything else. All the local colleges and the Univ of Calif classes in video production are all Final Cut-Mac users.

Is it any wonder Sony is not thriving? How are other folks supposed to even hear about their products if they don't support them?

Reading the forum here for many years I see and hear more and more frustration with the newer versions of Vegas. I quit upgrading after 10 which I still haven't even used because V8 still works without a lot of trouble...

When my Sony A-1 cam stopped working and I wanted to send it in to a Sony repair shop for an estimate and repair, the first response I got was $800 to just look at it! That was so stinking outrageous I said NO, especially if you can't even tell me whats wrong for that price! They actually called later and tried to negotiate a better price - how about $600 ? NO, you still haven't even looked at it! They eventually came back with $400 and I got it fixed. This on a cam with low mileage, left me with extreme distaste for Sony.

I'm also reminded of my old mini-disc player/recorders. Great little devices until iPods and Zoom recorders arrived and got rid of removable media like the MD discs. What made me want to keep my Sony MD is that I could swap out the batteries and keep recording. I hate internal rechargable battery operated devices for that reason. Too bad Sony didn't grab that changing technology and make me want to buy their product instead of my Zune and ZoomH2s....

So yes, I'm another example of folks who are moving away from Sony products because they no longer seem to stand out for high quality even if there was a premium on price point, it used to be worthwhile. I no longer have that illusion....

ushere wrote on 4/15/2012, 8:26 PM
agree with eileen....

what was once a very reliable, innovative company has reasonably rapidly slid into a corporate mess where the left hand doesn't even know the right hand exists.

with over 40 years in video and broadcast tv i always maintained that sony equipment was both dependable and reliable, if not somewhat over-priced. i was willing to suffer the latter in deference to the former. however, all that started slipping (hardware-wise) when i bought an edit station 7. it was both dependable and reliable, and extremely overpriced. the software was adequate, but never really updated, and replacing scsi drives from sony was 8X the cost of simply buying direct from seagate.

it was about this time i started running vegas (along with an existing avid nle). i loved vegas instantly compared to the other nle's i tried, or was using. this love affair continued upto ver 9. since then it's been a slowly accelerating slide downhill, to the point where i'm now seriously considering using the video part of my cs5.5 bundle.

what happened? i can't say, but it's enough to know that gimmickry has taken over from robustness, and releases from reliability. not that that is anything new in the 21st century, the main difference is we, the consumers, have lost our infatuation with brand names, and our love affairs no longer lead to stable relationships.

the situation reminds me of the old joke - i've had two wives, the first left me, the second wont....

farss wrote on 4/15/2012, 9:05 PM
The article reads like the story of two decades of my life.
You don't have to be a Japanese company to go the same way.

malowz wrote on 4/16/2012, 12:16 AM
i remember the time when have a sony product means "you got the best brand". but then sony products started to make me change my mind about sony itself.

started with portable minidisc. weird still using disks on the beginning of mp3 era. even, i bought a portable minidisk. in my mind, "its sony, can't be bad". and on the package was "play your mp3's" and stuff, "oh, so now it plays mp3" i guessed. then i found out it need to convert to attrack, well, its still ok, i knew mini-disk used attrack, but i guessed it was "updated" now. but to convert, i needed to use sony sonicstage. WORST PIECE OF SOFTWARE EVER MADE. barely could get to work. make my experience of using the player miserable. what was sony thinking? why didnt i bought that ipod shuffle 1g, was cheap and uber simple. no fuzz. and one thing, i don't like apple AT ALL.

years and years late, i got a sony handycam. wooo, sony area. no one can beat sony at handycams, they are king. yes, until you discover a hole line of cameras had a problem with flat cable, making the LCD breaks at about 1 year of use. no recall, that model disappeared, new ones came. the product design was really bad, even changing flat, it would break again.

years and years later, my boss got a sony EX3. what a pleasure camera to use. until i realize the video was very very reddish (black suit on people looked brown) under incandescent light, no matter if using preset, or manual WB with a grey target. later found out, this camera had a weak infrared filter, making this mess. sony recalled? nope. sony response: "it's a feature, not a problem". great. i bought a Apple product and didn't know. had to look for a screw-in filter made from another company to fix that.

so, yeah. in the mean time, as the article suggests, im buying samsung products of all kind, and very very satisfied. they are great to balance price and quality. 2 moths ago i bought a 32" TV to use as pc monitor. didn't even consider looking for a sony tv to do that.

too bad samsung don't make pro cameras ;P
HyperMedia wrote on 4/16/2012, 1:37 AM

Where is Steve Mann when you need him. Once again he is wrong! Subject: RE: Once the world's most glamorous electronics compan

Reply by: Steve Mann

Date: 1/2/2012 8:52:47 AM

Reading this thread, I am recalling the parable of three blind men describing an elephant.

Subject: RE: Once the world's most glamorous electronics compan

Reply by: Steve Mann

Date: 1/2/2012 10:43:24 PM

Like I said - three blind men...

You guys don't have the slightest concept of what Sony is doing. The Japanese electronics industry anticipates and plans for the next decade. Unlike the US mindset of the next quarterly profit. They will willingly eat the losses for years only to own the market for the next big thing.

Just because you don't see exciting new products from Sony very year doesn't mean that they aren't in the pipeline.

Which blind man are you?

In fact, it is in a fight for its life — a development that exemplifies the stunning decline of Japan’s industrialized economy. Once upon a time, Japan Inc., not to mention Sony itself, seemed invulnerable. Today, Sony and many other Japanese manufacturers are pressed on all sides: by rising Asian rivals, a punishingly strong Japanese yen and, in Sony’s case, an astonishing lack of ideas.

Man... the article is scary! THIS WHAT I HAVING BEEN TALKING ABOUT FOR 3 YEARS! Like I said" they miss the opportunity to put SCS as the nexus.
They may have miss their time. Moving too slow. Everything about this articles is what I having been saying for over 3 years.

With its catalog of music and foundation in electronics, Sony had the tools to create a version of the iPod long before Apple introduced it in 2001. The Sony co-founder, Akio Morita, envisioned as early as the 1980s marrying digital technology with media content for a completely new user experience.

Lower-cost manufacturers from South Korea, China and elsewhere, meanwhile, are increasingly undercutting Sony and other high-end electronics makers. As Sony’s brand started losing much of its luster, the company found that it had a harder time charging a premium for its products.

Both publicly and privately, Sony’s top management shows a deep understanding of many of these fundamental challenges: the need for different sections of the company to work better together, for a more unified user experience, for innovation.

Steven Myers wrote on 4/16/2012, 2:31 AM
Brand loyalty is always a mistake. They come and they go. Big deal.
Rory Cooper wrote on 4/16/2012, 3:16 AM
What a load of globalization hogwash.

The article is just more anti Japanese rhetoric , uses words like cannibalize, uncreative and concluded with “The tarnish on their brand has definitely begun” yes but BUY who and for what reason? pun intend.

Hiroko Tabuchi Wins the globalist Pulitzer Prize pat on the back. A cheap swop for honor and integrity if you ask me.
Chienworks wrote on 4/16/2012, 6:43 AM

I have to disagree ... slightly. I say it's the 2nd worst piece of software ever made. Pixela holds the undisputed lead in that category. Why? SonicStage at least has words as part of it's UI. Pixela's UI of incomprehensible symbols doesn't even invite you to try figuring it out.

There are three pieces of software i have simply given up trying to use, considering my life to be too precious to waste even a nanosecond's more time on:

- Pixela
- SonicStage
- ProType Titler

What do these three titles have in common? Well, two things, actually. First is that all three seem to have taken the approach of being as hostile to the user as possible. I'll leave the other thing as an exercise for the reader. ;)
JJKizak wrote on 4/16/2012, 7:05 AM
I'm really hopefull that Sony does continue the XBR series of tvs which I have used since 2003. The Vegas 11 software workflow however might need Bell Labs to straighten it out. Just an opinon from a very simple minded occasional user who jumps into a mesmionic fog when looking at all the render options and FX options.
ushere wrote on 4/16/2012, 7:41 AM
@ chienworks - boy, did you hit the nail on the head with pixela / protype titler....

just got a bunch of jvc .mod files. and thought that jvc's own software (ie. pixela) might help out with a few problems i was having - so i borrowed the camera (pixela) disk, loaded it on an old laptop and thought, wow, is this crap for real? so headed off to dl the latest from pixela - it only got worse...

meanwhile protype has to be one of the most unintuitive pieces of software ever written...

and yes, you're perfectly right; life is too short to waste figuring out garbage ;-)
Spectralis wrote on 4/16/2012, 11:38 AM
I think Sony really ruined their chances when they tried to do an Apple before the iPhone existed and make everything with proprietary storage so you had to buy their specific storage card (Memory stick?) while everyone else was using generic. That put me off buying their stuff. Also releasing sub CD minidiscs was a mistake. They didn't want to allow customers to have CD quality recording so they were holding back the tech as well as trying to impose a new format on everyone. Thankfully it didn't work for them that time and they got spanked for being snide with the technology.

I've never bought any Sony hardware, especially laptops, because they are so overpriced for what they offer. They've managed to destroy ACID by failing to update it for 3 years. What a wasted opportunity and a completely bizarre decision considering they had built up a user base over the years.


Their NEX cameras are the dogs bollocks. They have really pushed the boat out technically with the NEX cameras. All hail Sony for that one! Release a NEX consumer video camera and some nice lenses and we will love you again.

If you are reading this Sony (and you always wait with baited breath for my posts) get your act together and update ACID, make Vegas stable and merge Sound Forge with either.

Then buy a Panasonic TV, take it apart and find out why they're so good. You might want to check out LG and find out how they make consumer TV's that are good and don't cost as much as a car. Then create a cheap good LED TV that can connect to everything.

Embrace Android and make all your phones, tablets and netbooks Android compatible. Never use your own clunky propriety OS again. Then release Vegas/ACID for Android and iOS. Develop your own line of plugins that are top quality but don't cost as much as the long in the tooth Sonnox stuff.

Finally, code all the media you own to digital and set up a download service exactly like Apple. Undercut them by 10% and create an online rental service that's cheaper than the competition. Of make all your media available via already existing channels.

If you do that I guarantee you will resuscitate. Just put the cheque in the post...
riredale wrote on 4/16/2012, 12:00 PM
A couple of thoughts:

(1) Hey, NY Times, ever hear the phrase, "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones?" That publication is a mere shadow of its former glory and competence. A lot of folks have stopped reading them because they're just not very good or objective any more.

(2) I've been a big fan of Sony products for years, and pretty much every piece of hardware I've bought from them has been a well-engineered and pleasingly-crafted device. Where Canon used plastic for its camcorder case, Sony used magnesium, to take just one example.

But it seems that in many cases Sony tried very hard to set new (and incompatible) standards, and then tried to bend the industry to their way of thinking. Numerous examples here, but one in particular that comes to mind is the Sony flash memory stick The memory stick wouldn't fit in the much more common SD flash memory slot. In essence they repeated their mistake made with the Beta versus VHS cassette incompatibility a decade earlier. And for the budding Minidisc format they chose ATRACS as the compression format and then crippled the device by forbidding a digital copy mechanism for the data.

I have no issues with Sony introducing numerous devices that in a sense compete with each other. That's Darwinian Natural Selection at its finest; only the best will survive. Just look at Apple's limited iPhone product line (which the author obviously loves). Just two products, the author touts. So simple. But in contrast look at the admittedly-confusing but richly-diverse Android universe. Want a bigger screen? Here's one. Want a kickstand on the back? Here's another. Apple is currently very profitable, but Android is just killing them in market share, especially in developing markets like China. Looks like a repeat of the PC-Mac evolution to me.

When I had business with the consumer electronics industry in Japan a few decades ago, the joke was that the Americans were scared of the Japanese, who in turn feared the Koreans, who in turn were panicked by the Chinese. That's the danger but also the strength of capitalism--as the baseball player Satchel Paige once said, don't look back because someone might be gaining on you. If Sony has first-rate engineering and great marketing, they will be fine. As for SCS, they are just an itty-bitty part of Sony and just a modest part of the NLE industry, from what I can tell. If they can be profitable to Sony in some way then they deserve to be kept alive. If not, then they should go away.

Somewhere in the past few years the code got tender, I suspect probably because of greater interoperability with other outside code (and beyond Sony's control). I don't know how Vegas compares with the other big NLEs from a stability standpoint, but I do know that a few years back it was regarded as being pretty much unbreakable. But perhaps that characteristic is not as valuable as other features these days; I just don't know the industry that well.
Spectralis wrote on 4/16/2012, 12:51 PM
No one in the PC world is interested in over priced underpowered lime green/pink laptops. That's so 90's. All the design over content people buy Apple anyway. And even they've reigned in the design department since the new millennium. Wake up Sony!
Sidecar2 wrote on 4/16/2012, 2:03 PM
Kodak, anyone?
rs170a wrote on 4/16/2012, 2:29 PM
and yes, you're perfectly right; life is too short to waste figuring out garbage ;-)

Leslie (ushere), I've been saying a lot lately that I want to go back to the days of 1/2" B&W reel-to-reel decks (Sony AV-3600/3650).
No codecs or computers to worry about, just plain (and really bad quality!!) video :)

drmathprog wrote on 4/16/2012, 2:35 PM
This is all well and good in explaining Sony's problems, but what about SCS? Are they just under-resourced, or disconnected from all the Sony video hardware fiefdoms, or have lost touch with their targeted audience, or what? Any theories?
JJKizak wrote on 4/16/2012, 4:16 PM
My Opinion:
SCS is the victum of downsizing and the guys that new what was going on are not there anymore.
farss wrote on 4/16/2012, 4:53 PM
"My Opinion:

The exact opposite seems to be the case and better explains the problems.
The original SoFo team is still in place, there's a lack of cross pollination and even if they managed to attract new blood the Old Guard is always defensive against new ideas.