back to article Sony loses $1bn in 2008

Sony lost over $1bn during its 2008 fiscal year which ended in March. It's the company's first annual loss in 14 years, and it expects to lose even more in the year ahead. The Japanese electronics conglomerate reported today its worldwide sales were down 12.9 per cent for the year. The slump was blamed on a strong Yen combined …

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So does this mean Sony will now eat humble pie?

Does this mean we'll now start to see Sony backtracking on it's proprietary bullshit? Open architecture, standard connectors, machines NOT rammed full of Sony horseshit that no one wants or needs?

Maybe the next console they design will be able to play the games from it's previous iteration...

I won't hold my breath.

Fuck Sony.

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Death of Sony

Personally, I wouldn't want to hold any Sony stock these days. Whatever credibility they had they lost through a combination of stupidity, arrogance and greed.

They made good TV's and Hi-Fi's up until the 80's. They then bastardised thir own brand by selling some extremely crap Malaysian made crap with Sony logo's in order to get a bigger share of the low end of the market.

They also spent many years playing the lock in game and trying to force their users to only buy Sony stuff because their stuff wouldn't play nice with other brands, even down to needing to use Sony brand CD-Rs because any other brand just wouldn't work reliably in their kit.

Their biggest mistake was entering the content business. They were already an unscrupulous company, and the clear conflict of interest that came about from being on both sides of the multimedia entertainment fence brought all their worst instincts to the fore, culminating in the CD rootkit debacle of a few years back.

Now they are languishing. Their TV division is virtually dead. Their ideological obsession with controlling the portable music player market with minidisc meant that they virtually handed the leadership they had with their Walkman brand over to Apples Ipod. They will never get that lead back. Even the one remaining jewel in their crown, the Playstation is looking decidedly tarnished these days. They got too caught up in the arms race with Microsoft to out polygon count each other that they didn't notice that Nintendo had shot into the lead offering low spec hardware at a quarter of the price with a truly innovative new gameplay paradigm.

What have Sony got left? Their Sony Ericcson phones just never seem to get there. Nokia have been consistently outselling them for the past decade and now the iphone and the koreans have joined the fray what hope has Sony got there?

It seems the only part of them that still makes money is their content business. Maybe they should just turn the lights out on the rest of their business and concentrate on making crappy movies and TV shows.

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Consumer backlash ?

Is this a sign that consumers are fighting back against over-priced, locked-down, we-know-what-features-you-want-better-than-you-do crap.

The only people who buy Sony now are those who want to demostrate how much money they have to waste on something they could get for half the price from a rival brand.

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Stop

Re: Consumer backlash?

If you can point me to a £75 Blu-ray player, so I can avoid buying a £150 Sony BDP-S350, I'll be very happy to do so.

Or was the claim that competitors offer equivalent products at half the price a load of rubbish?

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Let me get this straight

So they're in this mess because of their "proprietary bullshit" with no "Open architecture, standard connectors" (Will) or because of "over-priced, locked-down, we-know-what-features-you-want-better-than-you-do" that's bought by people who "want to demostrate how much money they have to waste on something they could get for half the price from a rival brand".

By your reasoning Apple would be in the same mess wouldn't they?

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W

I notice a pattern emerging...

I bought a netbook the other month. Do you think I bought a Samsung NC10 for a smudge over £300, or a Sony Vaio P for (again) twice the price?

In case you're still struggling, here's a little history to help you out...

In the mid 90s I begged and begged my parents for a Mini-system as a combined. They finally said yes. After much research, it was between a JVC, a Sony and an Aiwa (where are they now?). After much deliberation and in-store testing, the Aiwa had the gimmicks and bells and whistles, the JVC Adagio S20 (god I miss that thing ) had the sound quality and a decent design, the Sony had nothing to offer apart from it's looks (horrible sounding thing it was).

More recently I bought a Sony NW-E55 Network Walkman a while back. Not an MP3 player. A "Network Walkman". The hardware itself was an utterly gorgeous, well made piece of kit and a joy to use. But it didn't play MP3s natively or support drag and drop. In Sony's infinite wisdom, they insisted on forcing the use of their uniformly atrocious SonicStage software and pretended that their cack handed attempts at selling ATRAC files via Sony Connect were a viable alternative to simply ripping your own MP3s or using the iPod/iTunes setup.

I ended up flashing the hardware to allow drag and drop and native MP3 playback. But I won't buy another Sony MP3 player based on that experience. My Mum & Dad were recently researching MP3 players. They're not tech-heads (but they went from Win98 to Vista and wondered why it was so borked). I made mention of the potential lock-in if they went for an iPod. They took that on board, agreed, and decided on a Sansa Fuse in the end. Personally, I use my phone. Speaking of which...

I now a Sony Ericsson K770i phone. Again, a mostly splendid and capable piece of hardware. But hamstrung by it's OS (or lack of it). I'd also dearly love to install a Last.fm Audioscrobbler. Symbian? No probs. iPhone? Sorted. Win Mob? Yup. SE phones? Not happening. Also, the default browser is bobbins. I installed Opera Mini and it's like getting a new phone. And the video playback won't allow for fast forward or rewind. And the proprietary headphone connector is complete and utter balls. It's merely an annoying obfuscation that allows them to differentiate between their otherwise very similar K and W ranges.

In the 18 months since the K770i was released they've managed to sort out the video playback and add a couple of megapixels to the camera, but similarly priced SE phones around now offer little else. Meanwhile Nokia (and relative newcomers like Samsung) have really started to hit their stride. I expect to go back to a Nokia phone in the next couple of months. When I do, it'll probably feel all clean again, like shaving my head and having a long bath, all rolled into one. I've had a few Nokias and they've always been great. I should never have strayed.

A while back, I was in the market for a laptop 13.3" sub-2kg laptop. The only machines available with any degree of decent product design were made by Apple, Sony or Dell. Didn't want an Apple and the Sony Vaios were crazy prices. So as soon as the Dell XPS M1330 came out, I bought that. It's been a brilliant machine. And at £700, an equivalent Sony would have cost twice the price.

It is acknowledged that Sony products are priced at a premium, but why? Sony are no longer producers of premium products.

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Teh cost?

The cost of winning the format war? Perhaps the war is not yet won.

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Dead Vulture

Death of Sony?

Not even close. 686m quid is nothing really to them. Yes, it's going to look somewhat bad no the markets, but hardly death-bell scenario really.

Come on Reg, stop the FUD..

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Anonymous Coward

Utter contempt

I never cease to be amazed at how a company who has such unmitigated contempt for its paying customers has continued to make a profit for so long (there are obviously a lot of very stupid people out there).

And no, I'm not just talking about the rootkit fiasco and the subsequent "removal tool" disaster, I'm talking about their almost tourettes-like need to screw with accepted industry standards in order to make them as niche, proprietary and expensive as possible.

They seem unable to provide even the most basic of devices (be it in-ear headphones, mobile phone chargers or other mains adaptors) without deliberately messing with the design to make damn sure it won't work with anything else. Then when it breaks (which it invariably will do due to the ludicrously flimsy construction) you cannot replace it with a generic version and you may not even be able to replace it with a Sony one, as they have since stopped making it and moved onto another freakish one-off design. This leaves you with a perfectly working, but completely unusable, device due to you not being able to power it any more.

It's such a shame that Blue-Ray won over HD-DVD. Sony should really not be rewarded for their behaviour.

World uses VHS, Sony uses Betamax,

World uses CD-R, Sony uses MiniDisk

World uses CD, Sony comes up with SA-CD

World uses MP3, Sony uses ATRAC

World uses DVD, Sony brings out UMD

World uses Compact Flash / SD card Sony, uses Memory Stick

etc. ad nauseum

Let's not even get into the Sony record label's treatment of its artists and their litigious attacks on the public.

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@ Dabooka

Hey, I'm an equal opportunity lock-in-for-lock-in-sake hater.

Fuck Apple too.

Having owned Apple, Sony and Sony Ericsson products I can safely say fuck all of them and the horses they rode in on.

£300 for a console which doesn't play the games of the console it replaced BUT it plays the games written for the 1st generation? But, lawdy, it has Blu-Ray! Big fucking deal. It's still an overpriced clunky piece of proprietary shit. Laptops with *how* much HD space used up with all the Vaio crapware? And it costs *how* much? Oh, but just think of the cool points you'll get parading it around like a prosthetic cock at your local Starfucks...

Don't even get me started on that piece of shit door wedge iMac. The top of the range (for the time) which couldn't recognise Apple blank media in it's own 'SuperDrive', couldn't run Photoshop without nearly going on fire, took 73 years to register a mouse click and which hung more times than Albert bastard Pierrepoint.

Fuck em all.

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To quote Nelson Muntz...

Hah ha!

It's just what the rootkit pushing bastards deserve...

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W

@ Dabooka

People don't mind proprietary tech if it offers real, tangible benefits over the other option. That generally demands becoming a defacto standard. See: proprietary, but defacto standard MP3 vs OGG, PDF ubiquity, and Windows vs OSX vs Linux.

Without the effective creation of a market that previously didn't exist (as in the iPod) Apple are, and will remain, a minor player in the wide, wide, world of consumer electronics (as in phones & PCs).

Apple might not be in a big mess at the mo, but by ploughing their proprietary furrow, they're on the same (or worse?) knife edge as Sony. Just look at how different things were for Apple ten or so years ago.

Apple's large market share in PMPs is _despite_ their proprietary nature. Yes, they were in early and hit gold with the iPod, but the iPod is no longer the icon it was (see also: Sony Walkman). And it's success was based upon the tie-in with iTunes. And as people have wised up to the problems with DRM etc, iTunes has had to open up. Just watch that iTunes market share slide over time, as Amazon & co get a hold of the 'open' MP3 download market.

In any case, PMP sales compared to mobile phones (which are also used as PMPs) are marginal and dwindling. So really, we should be looking at Apple's phone sales. Apple need a range of more 'open' iPhones if they're gonna topple Nokia any time soon.

Otherwise, they'll continue to be the bit part player in the mobile market that they now are in the PC market. Apple's marginal share of the PC market is _because_ of their proprietary nature.

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Paris Hilton

@Iain

One swallow does not make a summer.

(Has to be Paris for this one.)

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