Feeds

back to article Sony on the ropes after Moody's downgrade to junk

Sony got off to a terrible start to the week on Monday after credit ratings company Moody’s downgraded its status to junk thanks to the continuing poor performance of its TV and PC business. Moody’s Japan said it lowered Sony’s issuer rating and long-term senior unsecured bond rating from Baa3 to Ba1. Junk status means a bond is …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Let's see...sold CDs with root kits already installed. Sued a customer for telling others how to get back the functionality they'd paid for.

Trust Sony with medical information? Not on your life.

29
13
Anonymous Coward

Didn't sell many of their 4K TV's did they?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Jesus give it a break with the rootkit nonsense. If you're going to whine, at least do it about something contemporary such as the vastly more privacy intrusive "features" in every single smart phone.

9
25

Jesus give it a break with the rootkit nonsense.

-----

The rootkit was less a privacy issue and more of a damaging their customers own equipment issue, purely for the benefit of Sony.

As consumers, we have pretty much no power, watchdogs are toothless unless it becomes a political issue.

As consumers, our only power is to not buy from a company and that means you don't forget. Sony deserve to have potential future customers reminded about how they have treated those customers in the past for the root kits, other DRM schemes and for removing features from products after they were sold.

34
2
Bronze badge

Both the rootkit affair and PS3 other OS taught consumer not to trust Sony.

No matter whether you are consumer, corporate executive, or financial analyst, you must understand that losing consumer confidence is a terrible blow for the company. Sony never properly apologized for both blunders and thus the impression is that they never learn, in which case regaining consumer confidence is going to be difficult, to say at least.

If this sentiment backed by low sales figures then it really does not matter what you think about such blunders. Even if these were perfectly legitimate marketing strategies, this is irrelevant. You have a company incapable of learning and thus unable to enter new markets, and also unable to sustain its existing markets. Thus, junk company.

18
3
DJV

@ CaptainHook

Agreed. I deliberately haven't bought anything Sony-related since then. Yes, they should learn that customers have long memories.

24
2
Anonymous Coward

Not to mention distributed their customers' personal and credit card information across the internet, and ran an insecure online gaming platform with the up / down status of a soporific YoYo...

5
4
Bronze badge
FAIL

RE: Jesus give it a break with the rootkit nonsense.

Jesus give it a break with the rootkit nonsense.

YOU DON'T GET IT, now do you!!!??????

Sony is run by an arrogant bunch of assholes who feel that they can do as they damn well please!

The only way, we as consumers can express our displeasure with their actions is by VOTING WITH OUR WALLETS!!!!

Hence why it is absolutely necessary to remind Sony's arrogant executives of their serious missteps.

AGAIN

and

AGAIN

and

AGAIN!

16
5
Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: Jesus give it a break with the rootkit nonsense.

"YOU DON'T GET IT, now do you!!!??????"

I certainly don't. People are whining about something which was nearly a decade ago and quickly withdrawn. In the meantime, virtually every single store bought PC game in that time has imposed far worse DRM, and it continues into the likes of Steam and other services which often come with a double dose of DRM.

And that is just PCs. Tablets and phones do far worse. Cloud services do far worse.

People still whining about Sony and what they did 10 years ago are living in some bizarre bubble.

4
18
Silver badge

Re: RE: Jesus give it a break with the rootkit nonsense.

> every single store bought PC game in that time has imposed far worse DRM

And if you search a little you will find in most cases the far worse DRM scheme was either invented by Sony or one of their affiliate companies. Sony is still the only technology company that believes DRM is viable in the long term (mostly because they are the only tech company owned by a media studio). You also lose all credibility when you try to claim Steam is worse than anything Sony has done (obviously never dealt with either DRM then). Yes the rootkit fiasco is getting long in the tooth but its just a symptom of the arrogance that hasn't gone away even after losing tens of billions of dollars and many years straight in the red. They don't learn and they release epic fails like the Vita and now find their corporate bonds are junk.

14
1
Silver badge

Re: RE: Jesus give it a break with the rootkit nonsense.

"Sony is run by an arrogant bunch of assholes who feel that they can do as they damn well please!"

Well it's a good job that you're electing to give you money to other corporations instead, who all aren't run by arseholes!

Oh, wait... it's just that Sony fucked up publicly, whereas the ones you give money to haven't, and haven't restructured in any way and tightened security as a result of it. Good show.

Also: Down-voted for use of four exclamation marks.

2
9
Bronze badge

Re: RE: Jesus give it a break with the rootkit nonsense.

The thing about the rootkit fiasco was that it was symptomatic of the structural problem with the firm itself. In the 80s, they decided to buy up record and film companies -- made sense at the time: become a one-stop shop for media and the gadgets to play that media on. Little did they know that record companies and tech companies were going to become bitter enemies. Some firms have resolved that dichotomy. Sony haven't. What the rootkit made clear was that their tech arm is in thrall to their media arm, and will willingly cripple their own products -- and even go so far as to vandalise their customers' property -- if Sony Records tells them to.

And the rootkit wasn't a one-off. Around the same time, I spent an entire afternoon fixing my best friend's laptop. It was broken because he'd plugged his Sony mobile phone into the USB port and it had sloppily edited the registry, disabling the DVD-drive. Fuck's sake.

So, until they sell off their media bastards, I won't buy Sony digital stuff. (I'll buy their headphones. They make good headphones, and they don't contain code.)

8
2

Re: RE: Jesus give it a break with the rootkit nonsense.

> (I'll buy their headphones.

> They make good headphones,

> and they don't contain code.)

Nah, Sennheiser and AKG beat them, hands down...

5
1
Bronze badge

Go to jail

The rootkit is not over. Maybe you missed later news that Sony helped pass laws in Japan to throw people in jail for downloading their music. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19767970 They tried the same in other countries too but couldn't get it to pass. Or maybe you missed all the times they've lost their customer databases to hackers from negligent security. Sony can't make consumer devices anymore because it would enrage their rabid anti-consumer studio division. They're now a sad, conservative, and conflicted company that builds mediocracy and abuses their customers. I would not bet on their survival as they exist now. Japan invests heavily in their own corporations so it might be possible for Sony to break up and thrive as independents. S. Korea definitely needs a strong competitor to free people from Samsung's "you can make it work by buying the next model" attitude.

5
0
Bronze badge

"Sennheiser and AKG"

Oh, I didn't say I only buy Sony headphones. I just meant they're the only Sony product I'm willing to consider. Actually using some Samsons at the moment.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Go to jail

The rootkit is not over. Maybe you missed later news that Sony helped pass laws in Japan to throw people in jail for downloading their music.

That does seem somewhat draconian -- copyright infringement is a civil and not a criminal offence, so imprisonment should not be used as a penalty -- but at least it only punishes the guilty; unlike the rootkit, which compromised the privacy and security of everyone on whose PC it was installed.

I'm surprised that Sony weren't prosecuted unde the Computer Misuse Act, in the UK, for the rootkit thing. Installing malicious software on someone else's computer without their permission is a criminal offence.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Go to jail

"Maybe you missed..."

I think the only thing any of us have missed is that other companies have got away with things just as bad, without getting caught.

I steadfastly refuse to believe that any of the large corporations are morally better or worse than Sony. It's just that Sony got caught out. It would be stupid of me to think that Panasonic aren't boning me somehow behind the scenes to a worse degree than Sony.

0
0
Bronze badge

Quite right

I was trying to think what Sony were all about in the good old says before they began micromanaging homesexual boy bands. All I could think of was big black televisions and some nice early digital HiFi.

It wasn't until I was reminded about the rootkit scandal that I remembered buying a load of really great CDs from someone on a car boot stall that oddly, seemed to have only Sony CDs for sale.

Some months later I remember thinking a couple of my computers had bit the dust. They were only old ones that I just used as CD players, so never really bothered about them. Fuuuuuu....

0
0
Bronze badge

What Sony they did 10 years ago bizarre bubble.

The problem is that as with the BBC fiasco and various other large corporation failures; once a big enough company fails, it fails in every direction immediately. It's something like a gravity wave, it is not linear and it not snippable. It either gets worse or it gets taken over by a larger concern that just wants to strip it of the one or two assets not burned by the previous owners.

I can't recall (off-hand) any ever getting back on its feet. (Of course, there must be some.) I believe it's because of the way capitalism works. It would take an essay to describe the processes and each different type of company would have its own method of decay, a mixture of market forces, returned investment and falling demand.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: What Sony they did 10 years ago bizarre bubble.

>I can't recall (off-hand) any ever getting back on its feet.

The one the fanbois always parade is Apple in the mid 1990s and my guess is they were junk bond status back then as well. Of course there isn't a lot of Steve Jobs waiting in the wings.

0
0

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Wow. I can remember when you bought Sony stuff because it was, simply, the best.

Gee... what other tech company is seen as untouchable, very shiny and cool, has a fanatical fan base, and is seen as having success and stock value that can't be stopped?

23
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

It still is the best. However the Walmart generation buy any old shit and are more than happy to be told that what they bought is better,

4
16

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

Still is the best? Not really. One of the best? Sure, maybe. For the time being, Samsung and LG make my favorite displays, and I merely see Sony as "comparable."

There was a time in which I wouldn't buy any Sony product due to failures of one sort or another, starting around the launch of the PS2. Hell, even my Sony LCD TV would screw up and not shut down properly or come back on until I pulled the plug at times, only resolved after a firmware update, and it's not even a "smart" TV.

That said, your referenced "Walmart generation" might buy whatever junk at first, but if it fails prematurely or provides a terrible experience, they won't recommend it or go back for more. Quite simply, "any old shit" brands are catching up with the quality of higher end brands for the most part. Of course they're still far from equal, but the average consumer doesn't really care anyway and wouldn't have spent the money for the higher end product in the first place.

13
1
Silver badge

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

"It still is the best. However the Walmart generation buy any old shit and are more than happy to be told that what they bought is better,"

In the good old days, man carefully considered each purchase and bought the best. But man, being a fickle creature, sneered at the old ways. The principles that held him in good stead over the millennia fell by the wayside. Now, the generation with us today have fallen into degeneracy and buy 'old shit' if they are told to by plutocrats.

0
3
Silver badge

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

I'd still personally count sony as the best, but it's not the best so far as value is concerned.

Do I believe the quality of Sony Bravia TV X is better than the nearest competitor? (Samsung, LG) Yes I do. Do I think it's a large difference? Not really, marginal at best, and most would barely notice it. Do I think it's worth paying the 50% excess in price for that TV? Not on your life.

It's the same for their laptops, I love sony laptops, they always call out to me. But I'm not paying £1000 for the sony Vaio when I can grab the same spec laptop off novatech (sans OS) for £450.

I'm still of the mind that Sony should just pull out of the PC market,

Hah, that's a good thought. Maybe sony should scrap their PC division, and turn it into a Steam division making nice shiny steam boxes. Then when the 'console' generation begins to grind to a halt (I honestly don't think consoles have much more left in them, one more gen tops) they can shift their library / IP to PC via Steam.

3
2

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

"Then [...] they can shift their library / IP to PC via Steam."

Yeah... I don't see that ever happening. As happy as that would make many consumers, myself included, I just don't see them ever letting go of their digital distribution platform and embracing someone else's. I could be wrong, but I have the feeling that Sony would rather leave the market entirely than to make marginal profits on second party software licenses sold and distributed on Steam.

That said, yeah, I do agree that they should probably ditch their PC division - the margins were slim when the market was at its peak. Sure, competition benefits the consumer, and the PC sector is far from dead... but it's one of the easiest divisions for them to drop and probably their least profitable.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

Ended up buying a Bravia for someone because their Samsung failed within 18 months - soon followed by my Samsung, which I managed to repair at least, not so with the other one, even replacing 4 boards didn't fix it.

The Bravia has a better picture and a menu system which appears when you press the button and is easier to operate; waiting for up to 10 seconds for the Source selection menu is insane on a £1500 TV - on any TV in fact.

And, more importantly, the Bravia is still working, 2 whole years later.

No more Samsungs for me despite the good picture.

5
0
MJI
Silver badge

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

Still one of the best, TVs are still very good, but other companies have caught up post Trinitron era, to be honest no other tube TV could match one.

When looking for my current TV I went Sony for price and quality reasons, the Pioneer Plasmas were a lot more, and to be honest at the time, most other LCD TVs were poor (including cheaper Sonys) and most Plasmas looked cack.

Look at their home cinema stuff, still among the best middle range kit, but not many people buying in that market.

PCs well I don't do laptops but a cheap one would do. Tower PCs - build your own. May be best off dropping out of the PC market.

That said I think Kaz can turn them around, probably best person for the job.

I think they will rely on their gaming division for now.

3
0

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

Same here.

Daughter bought a Samsung TV, we bought them a Samsung cinema system to go with it.

Just over 18 months later the TV screen went kack. 6 or so months after that the surround sound went kack.

No more Samsung anything for me.

On the other hand, I know a number of Sony Trinitrons (and some monitors) still going strong.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

"Do I believe the quality of Sony Bravia TV X is better than the nearest competitor? (Samsung, LG) Yes I do. Do I think it's a large difference? Not really, marginal at best, and most would barely notice it. Do I think it's worth paying the 50% excess in price for that TV? Not on your life."

You aren't a politician by any chance? They are the ones who usually ask and answer their own questions rather than string together a coherent argument for whatever it is they are trying to say. Drives me nuts. Do I want you to bring that sort of behaviour into the mainstream? No I don't!

1
5
Anonymous Coward

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

"I can remember when you bought Sony stuff because it was, simply, the best."

And then they added DRM to it all. Remember what their digital Walkmans looked like? No me neither...

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

"Do I believe the quality of Sony Bravia TV X is better than the nearest competitor? (Samsung, LG) Yes I do."

Panasonic Viera (Pioneer plasma technology) is better though...

4
0
Silver badge

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

the 50% excess in price

I'm curious, which TV 'range' was that? A couple of weeks ago I was shopping for a new TV (42") and for a comparable feature set there was hardly any price difference between the Sony, LG and (slightly larger) Samsung (a few euros at most). The ones that were noticeably cheaper were Philips, and the badge-engineered stuff. The Panasonic plasma has a nice picture, but at 2x the power consumption you could feel the heat radiating from it, and I'm not convinced plasma has a future, even with its slightly better contrast level.

I bought the Sony. It replaces a 10-year-old CRT set that still gives a good picture, and is about to be donated to a charity that jumped at the chance to have it. I certainly couldn't bring myself to take it to the tip.

0
0

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

"Just over 18 months later the TV screen went kack. 6 or so months after that the surround sound went kack."

I bet your daughter wasn't pleased that Samsung "kacked" all over her bedroom, then. :-O

"On the other hand, I know a number of Sony Trinitrons (and some monitors) still going strong."

Yeah, my 1993 Sony Trinitron portable is over 20 years old, has been in regular use for almost all that time (still gets used daily), and has *never* needed to be repaired. Apart from some (very minor at worst) colour fringing only visible on text, it looks pretty much as good as the day I bought it.

I paid quite a bit more for that set (£200) than the cheaper models I was looking at that day, but in retrospect it was worth every damn penny.

Sadly, what I've heard about Sony since the early-noughties seems to have reflected a significant decline in quality. Even from personal experience, my Dad, for example, had two Sony Walkmans fail when still relatively new (*), and the HDD Sony Camcorder he bought a few years back had its screen go because of bad ribbon cable design, despite being rately used, which turned out to be a common fault. On top of that, I was never impressed with the picture quality even when it *was* working.

To be fair, my Sony "tranny" radio lasted several years, did a good job, and was replaced with one of the same model when it did fail. However, I wouldn't use that good experience as the sole basis to spend £2000 on a Sony TV, or whatever.

(*) The third failed as well, but that's because it was dropped on the ground.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

"Remember what their digital Walkmans looked like? No me neither..."

Then you lost out due to your ignorance. Their walkmans were one of the first to support unencrypted audio that you could simply copy across using Windows Explorer.

Sure it also played their ATRAC stuff (which sounded amazing incidentally), but they also did AAC, WMA, MP3, FLAC and many more.

2
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

'plasma has no future'

Sadly this is probably true, so you should have taken the opportunity to buy one when you still had a chance, a good (Panasonic) plasma is better than any LCD/LED. Hopefully there will be some better display tech. available when I need to replace my plasma, I hate LCD looking at LCD mush.

0
0

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

> Their walkmans were one of the first to support unencrypted audio that you could simply copy across using Windows Explorer.

Do you mean Sony's second set of walkmans were the first to do that?

Cos I had their first walkmans - you could not copy files at all - you had to import into their shitty app and transcode into AAC.

5
0
Silver badge

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

No it was never the best, but it was the best you could afford without selling the dog into slavery.

Had many CRT TVS (two left) sand still have audio setup with sony on the front and its still very very good. Still got two Sony STBS - again brilliant kit.

But LCD TVs? Samsung are simply better value or Panasonic. Don't play games and frankly when it comes to cameras its Canon or Nikon - not Sony.

I am not sure where the price/quality went. Maybe Japanese exchange rate, but go it did. I mourn their passing as I mourned Hewlett Packard test instruments. IN a long life or unreliable crap there are a few brands that stood against the tide Nikon lenses and cameras, HP test gear, Sony TVs and audio gear. Kodachrome slide film. Most are gone now...

0
0
Silver badge

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

"However the Walmart generation buy any old shit and are more than happy to be told that what they bought is better,"

I don't pretend my £19 Asda DVD player is the best. But it does plays DVDs just as well as anything else, from any Region, still works after 8 years and *cost 19 quid!*

The difference in the quality of consumer electronics is not sufficient to warrant the difference in price. High prices are due to perception and marketing, and not very much else... especially when half the 'choices' all come from the same factory.

6
0

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen - Samsung are simply better value

Until they Kack.

0
0
Silver badge

Optional

Sony are a textbook example of how to destroy a business.

Up until the 80's Sony was held in high regard by both consumers and professionals. Their products were the best in the market and they could command a price premium as a result.

Their first misstep was an ill considered move into the low end of the market. By the mid eighties consumers were being offered cheaply made junk from SE Asia with the Sony brand on it. You could still by the proper Japanese made kit but if you were not careful you could get burnt. They were trading on their good name in order to sell substandard junk. Any graduate of Business 101 could tell you this sort of strategy will not work in the long term but the geniuses at Sony HQ pressed on anyway.

By the late 80's audio media was shifting from analog to digital. Sony saw this shift as an opportunity to leverage their still considerable customer loyalty into using various proprietary media storage systems and thereby obtain a market spanning consumer lock in. Even while the "standard" MP3 format was in mid boom Sony was attempting to keep their customers locked into Sony's own proprietary formats. They even subtely screwed with existing standards. Anybody who has been told that "you should only use Sony branded blank CD's because others won't work properly in this Sony kit" will know what I mean here. Of course, consumers looked elsewhere for the kit.

In the 90's, Sony decided to "diversify" by entering into the production side of the entertainment industry by buying some big name music labels and movie studios. This put them into a position where their internal business divisions had a clear conflict of interest. The electronics side of the business were driven to sell more electronics and the best way to do that is to sell the products that people wanted to purchase. Even if sometimes those products were used to consume "illicit"

copies of media. This was in direct conflict with the media division, who were more focussed on curtailing the behaviour of consumers that it considered to be against the best interests of Sony Media. Consequently Sony became heavy users of a whole raft of anti consumer DRM technologies making their CE kit even less attractive to consumers than it already was in order to appease the media division. This culminated in the infamous rootkit fiasco of course.

Sony are reaping what they sowed, starting back in the 80's. They won't be missed.

4
0
Silver badge

@Phil O'Sophical

the 50% excess in price

I'm curious, which TV 'range' was that? A couple of weeks ago I was shopping for a new TV (42") and for a comparable feature set there was hardly any price difference between the Sony, LG and (slightly larger) Samsung (a few euros at most).

Honestly, it was about 6-7 yearsa go now. The cheapest Sony I could find while looking was around the £600 mark, while same size of LG was closer to £300. I haven't really looked more recently, so the price gap may very well have closed on the TV makret.

0
0
MJI
Silver badge

Re: First digital Walkmans

Well if you look at home they developed them not too surprising.

Basically take a MD Walkman and replace MD with HDD.

The second generation with MP3 support were better but ATRAC sounds better than MP3, They were good, but didn't sell well - too expensive.

I have a MiniDisc Walkman, so can see the similarities.

0
0
MJI
Silver badge

Re: Cameras

Of course Nikon and Canon have always been top. But for Video cameras Sony were a top brand, I will admit I stopped at HDV as I wanted tape, and the choice was basically a £800 Sony, a £1500 semi pro Sony, or a £1000 or so semi pro Canon.

Back in the 80s Sony were a no brainer for the portable recorders. But JVC were the top camera.

Mini DV was a great format for SD cameras, there were multiple good manufacturers.

0
0
MJI
Silver badge

Re: Optional

You are right on the cheap crap - I managed to avoid it and I have upset sales staff telling them that.

Now the media side, I blame everyone who bought the crappy Vhs system over the better Beta system.

I have a still working Sanyo Beta HiFi deck and watching rental videos with that was much nicer than some Vhs crap.

Sanyo supported Beta to the end along with Sony, they produced some indestractable decks and the best deck for pre recorded films - why?

There were 3 UK HiFi decks, the Super made no difference for prerecorded and both Sony kept tapes laced, so had greater head wear. the Sanyo and Sony ordinary HiFi decks were very similar in performance.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: How the Mighty Have Fallen

Sony computers currently are more often than not a "well meant" instead of a "well done". Problems with the WLAN and the fan control, too small batteries to keep cost/weight down and similar minor but annoying problems. Sad since the base units are great and occasionally they show they CAN do great maschines (Duo 13 is an example)

Future will see if they get the problems fixed and how they handle "older" units IF the fix can be applied to those (WLAN and Fan may be)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Love Moodys...

Aren't they the ones that rated junk mortgages as AAA? Why does anyone listen to these blatantly inept fucksticks?

23
0

Re: Love Moodys...

Feel free to set up your own ratings agency if you think you can do a better job.

2
10
Silver badge

Re: Love Moodys...

I know they made some popular albums back in the 1970s but the financial witterings of these prog rock dinosaurs get way too much attention.

9
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Love Moodys...

Just randomly rating things would be about as accurate as what they do today?

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.