Sony recently announced a loss of $6.4 billion. This is the company that used to own the television and computer display market; the company that used to own the portable music player market. But they allowed their lawyers to start dictating their new hardware products, and that allowed Apple to come along with the iPod and begin the process of killing Sony off.
WHAT went wrong is a tale of lost opportunities and disastrous infighting. It is also the story of a proud company that was unwilling or unable to adapt to realities of the global marketplace.
Sony’s gravest mistake was that it failed to ride some of the biggest waves of technological innovation in recent decades: digitalization, a shift toward software and the importance of the Internet.
One by one, every sphere where the company competed — from hardware to software to communications to content — was turned topsy-turvy by disruptive new technology and unforeseen rivals. And these changes only highlighted the conflicts and divisions within Sony.