back to article Sony on the ropes after revising losses UP to $1.3 BEEELLION

Japanese electronics stalwart Sony has posted a preliminary net income loss of ¥130 billion ($1.3bn, £770m) for the year to March 31, 2014 – its third downward revision in less than 12 months, and another blow to CEO Kazuo Hirai’s attempts to turn the company around. The figure [PDF] was significantly worse than the ¥110bn (£ …

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It's not my birthday today!

But I'll go out and celebrate like it is. This is the best news I've heard in months.

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Re: It's not my birthday today!

Why would you celebrate a company failing so much? If it is the gamer angle then seriously as a xbox owner and live user for a good 9/10 years I want Sony to succeed because if they fail and it is just Microsoft in the mainstream console industry then gamers will get screwed over royally.

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SJG

Re: It's not my birthday today!

Your level of self interest is astonishing. Probably means another 500 jobs lot being lost from the high tech sector in the local Sony factory. In this area, Sony has been one of the best employers from almost any angle for the past 20 years - good conditions, good pay and they have show a strong loyalty to the workforce.

Shame on you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not my birthday today!

Because he likes Xbox.... And Microsoft told him that the nasty people at Sony took away his OtherOS, which he was planning to use to get free pirated games.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not my birthday today! @Gene Cash

A surprising reaction to news of a company that's in trouble, who, over the years have provided a fair few innovations, in many areas of both consumer and professional electronics. The Walkman and the first CD player, immediately spring to mind.

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Re: It's not my birthday today! @Gene Cash

a company that's in trouble, who, over the years have provided a fair few innovations, in many areas of both consumer and professional electronics. The Walkman and the first CD player, immediately spring to mind.

Followed shortly by the rootkit-on-a-cd and inept security leading to the loss of 77 million unencrypted account details?

I don't get the gloating over the misery of others, but there is some irony to say they've provided a fair few technological innovations, when the two that come to mind happened in the 70s and 80s....

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Re: It's not my birthday today!

Because he likes Xbox.... And Microsoft told him that the nasty people at Sony took away his OtherOS, which he was planning to use to get free pirated games.

OtherOS could, and would never be used to get free Games. The only thing that gave anyone free Games was S0NY inability to properly write a PRNG Code. Which gave gave pissed off OtherOS Hackers some nice Ammo to shoot down S0NY with. If you want Free Games on the PS3 Format... Just get yourself a shiny used CECH-20xx or CECH21xx (Slim) Console, and a NOR Flash ROM Programer. Then you can install CFW to our hearts content!

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Re: It's not my birthday today! @Gene Cash

A surprising reaction to news of a company that's in trouble, who, over the years have provided a fair few innovations, in many areas of both consumer and professional electronics. The Walkman and the first CD player, immediately spring to mind.

Not sure about the WalkMan. But, wasn't the Compact Disk not a Phillips invention?

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Re: It's not my birthday today! @Gene Cash

CD was joint Sony / Philips.

Compact Cassette was Philips, but Sony made first pocket sized player. They had earlier made a portable transistor tape recorder with wind-up motor (i.e. like clockwork) to save batteries. A German company in late 1940s or 1950s had made a portable battery valve tape recorder with gramophone style "clockwork" windup for tape transport. Sony miniaturised it with Transistors in early 1960s.

Sony did do the failed Elcassette which was really HiFi (compact cassette wasn't!).

They also made a wonderful 8mm portable VCR/camera that could play Analogue tapes as well as recording/play Digital. Great "bridge" to put analogue on PC via Firewire via its analogue input.

They also made the failed US slot mask idea into the working Trinitron.

BD isn't dead, they just can't compete with Chinese.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC - Re: It's not my birthday today!

It's not Microsoft that told him about the nasty people and I doubt the US Army and other universities around the world were keen on pirating/pirated games. Have a life, mate, gamers are not the center of the universe!

I'll drink too at Sony's funeral and I hope DRM will be the last thing they will hear on their deathbed.

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Re: It's not my birthday today!

Doubt it has anything to do with console wars. Sony was one of the biggest proponents of DRM. They've been a very anti-listening to their customer for a long time. Their stuff hasn't been premium since the Walkman but they still try to charge premium prices.

They're up there on the "villains" list for me with Apple, Comcast, EA, etc.

The only saving grace for them in my books is I like their Playstation business. I think they should split the company and have one for movies, one for music and one for video games and be done with it. Dump the rest of the hardware.

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Re: It's not my birthday today! @Gene Cash

"Not sure about the WalkMan. But, wasn't the Compact Disk not a Phillips invention?"

I think we're using "invented" in the Apple language here. Like how Apple claims they "invented" the mp3 player, tablet, and smartphone.

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Re: It's not my birthday today! @Gene Cash

I think we're using "invented" in the Apple language here. Like how Apple claims they "invented" the mp3 player, tablet, and smartphone.

No, not "invented" like Apple and their iPod. The CD player was a joint research project with Philips and Sony were first to market.

The Sony CDP-101 was the world's first commercially released compact disc player. The system was launched in Japan on October 1, 1982 at a list price of 168,000 yen (approx $730).

The Japan-only launch was partially because Philips, Sony's partner in the development of the CD format, was unable to meet the original agreed launch date. Rather than agree a full postponement, Sony agreed to delay the launch of the format outside Japan by six months. The Philips CD100 launched in November 1982, although early Philips players contained some Sony components.

In line with the agreement, the system was launched worldwide in March 1983.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_CDP-101

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not my birthday today!

+1

Horrible rootkit foisting copyright cartel that they are.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not my birthday today! @Gene Cash

"The Walkman and the first CD player, immediately spring to mind."

And so does the horrible DRM and forced use of Sony Music utilities that their subsequent personal audio products required....And the rook kit installing audio CDs.

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Re: It's not my birthday today! @Gene Cash

<<<They also made a wonderful 8mm portable VCR/camera that could play Analogue tapes as well as recording/play Digital. Great "bridge" to put analogue on PC via Firewire via its analogue input.>>>

I have one of those, and I've used it to dump 40+ tapes onto my computer. The downsides is that a 2 hour analog tape ends up taing up 28GB of space - easy now, but back when I bought the camera, 8GB was a good size disk drive.

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Re: It's not my birthday today!

Sony has earned their death, not by one mistake, but through a searing hot distrust and lack of respect for their customers lasting for decades. It not only shows in their products, but limits what they can create. I feel bad for their Engineers and I hope they can find more rewarding work elsewhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not my birthday today!

While no-one is arguing Sony's past as a manufacturer of innovative, high-quality hardware, Sony Entertainment has been allowed to wag the dog so long that Sony is now known as manufacturer of crappy, low-quality trojan horse hardware.

I find it deliciously ironic that it turns out that they are failing because some idiots bet the company on DRM-laden physical media.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not my birthday today!

This company sued a guy (geohot) for jailbreaking. eg: opening up hardware they own.

So fuck them and the horse they rode in on.

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Re: It's not my birthday today!

This company sued a guy (geohot) for jailbreaking. eg: opening up hardware they own.

So fuck them and the horse they rode in on.

Did Geohot even do anything at all? Besides leaking the "Keys", that were found not, by him but, by Team Fail0verflow instead? I think... That is IIRC, I think he was trying to work on a way to get to those already known Keys though the OtherOS, as a thought experiment. Enough to the point where S0NY canned his butt, and OtherOS along with it!

Problem was the "Keys" were already known... So it was a pointless exercise anyway. S0NY ditched OtherOS presumably on the good faith that those Keys were still unknown at the time, or that no one would have had to balls to publish 'em. That was where S0NY miscalculated... BIG TIME!

To be fair though I'm kinda shocked that the didn't crush Geohot and Team Fail0verflow, more so then they had.

Now as to some of the benefits of installing a CFW to your CECH-20/21 PS3, any why you should include...

A near fully working PS2 Software Emulator, and a PSP Soft Emulator as well. With a bit of Homebrew called ShowTime, you can actually pay stuff on (or though), your PS3 that was always "broken" before... Mostly *.MKV Stuff... Oh yeah and, if you like you could also re-install a Linux OtherOS again if you so desired to... Though I gather the PS3 still doesn't actually have a working RSX (nVidia Graphics) Linux Driver yet. Something that Geo was also reportedly working on at the time. Again IIRC. So I doubt anyones gonna get Ubuntu w/Unity working on it anytime soon....

Nor should they!

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Re: It's not my birthday today!

"If it is the gamer angle then seriously as a xbox owner and live user for a good 9/10 years I want Sony to succeed because if they fail and it is just Microsoft in the mainstream console industry then gamers will get screwed over royally"

Gamers already get screwed over because of *both* these companies inability to allow market forces to drive their products - they both throw money at bad game "exclusives" and distort the market, destroy the ability of the industry to be either an art form or creative and original.

Don't worry though because Microsoft is next.

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Anonymous Coward

Sony should sell off Columbia studios. It will at least film industry better

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Sony should sell off Columbia studios. It will at least film industry better

I concur S0NY would do well to get out of the Music, and Film industries.

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Olympus?

Seriously?

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Re: Olympus?

Yes, Olympus - the company that made the best camera in recent years when they released their first OM-D unit, the E-M5, with a built-in Steadycam-quality on-SoC stabilizing system, almost 13 stops dynamic range etc, featuring Sony's CMOS chip... one of the smartest investment Sony did in the past ~10 years.

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Anonymous Coward

Perhaps....

Apple might like to buy the SONY TV Business? Then they would have their rumoured TV,

The Fanbois will shout 'iBravia' :)

I am joking but SONY needs to take the knife to a lot of their underperforming divisions otherwise the downward spiral will never end.

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Meh

Pride goeth before a fall

Most of it's wounds have been self-inflicted.

Sony invents Betamax, JVC responds with the technilogically inferior VHS. RCA, biggest seller of TVs in America approaches Sony, wants to sell Betamaxes, Sony says, "No, we don't need you". RCA shrugs, cuts deal with JVC instead. By the time Sony realizes it made a mistake and cuts a deal with Zenith, #2 after RCA, it's already too late to reverse VHS's march to dominance.

Same with Mini-disc; saddles it with proprietary (if superior) format, refuses to support mp3 until it's, again, too late to salvage it.

Then, of course, there's the CD root kit fiasco.

Must have been somewhat sweet to see Blu-ray triumph but I guess that's not going too well these days.

Too bad, really, they've always made nice kit.

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Re: Pride goeth before a fall

Must have been somewhat sweet to see Blu-ray triumph

But from I recall reading at the time, didn't Sony pretty much pay off Hollywood to ensure Bluerays success? can't imagine that was cheap. I still haven't got Blueray, but I thought the PS4 was a collosal success, not enough?

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Re: Pride goeth before a fall

We have Blue-ray. And a nice Sony Bravia TV. But we never actually use Blue-ray discs. There's no point. We rent DVDs or d/l films (legally). Blue-ray just isn't good value for our money. We don't see any benefit to it, in all honesty.

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Re: Pride goeth before a fall

They used to make nice kit. Nowadays its Sammy who make the nice kit.

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Gimp

Re: Pride goeth before a fall

If you didn’t see any benefit to it then I have to question your eyesight. The quality of a blu-ray over a normal DVD is immense. I don’t re-buy movies that I already own on DVD, but any new movie I get is blu-ray (apart from the old impulse 2-quidder in HMV back in the day when you could actually find an HMV). Its personal obviously, but on a 5 year old Samsung LCD and a PS3, the picture quality is fantastic. I hope blu-ray doesn’t go titsup as downloading (and storing) full HD movies is, at the moment, and for me, a proper pain in the arse

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Re: Pride goeth before a fall

you forgot their proprietary memory. Duo and Duo plus I think.

They made great technology but as most Japanese companies have been trying to dictate consumers what they want along with an aversion to take any risk and now that mentality is biting them.

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Re: Pride goeth before a fall

Most of it's wounds have been self-inflicted.

Sony invents Betamax, JVC responds with the technilogically inferior VHS. RCA, biggest seller of TVs in America approaches Sony, wants to sell Betamaxes, Sony says, "No, we don't need you". RCA shrugs, cuts deal with JVC instead. By the time Sony realizes it made a mistake and cuts a deal with Zenith, #2 after RCA, it's already too late to reverse VHS's march to dominance.

Same with Mini-disc; saddles it with proprietary (if superior) format, refuses to support mp3 until it's, again, too late to salvage it.

Then, of course, there's the CD root kit fiasco.

Must have been somewhat sweet to see Blu-ray triumph but I guess that's not going too well these days.

Too bad, really, they've always made nice kit.

I personally believe the Market would have gone with HD-DVD if they had any real choice in the matter. The fact is S0NY managed to skew the Numbers Game in their favor by counting every PS3 as a BlueRay Player. With which it dazzled the like of Warner Brothers with its bullsh-- to get it to back its Format over HD-DVD, at the time.

And here I've never once even seen a full BlueRay Movie ever. I do have the 20 PS3 Games on BlueRay though. Just no Movies.

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Re: Pride goeth before a fall

you forgot their proprietary memory. Duo and Duo plus I think.

They made great technology but as most Japanese companies have been trying to dictate consumers what they want along with an aversion to take any risk and now that mentality is biting them.

Nope.jpg At least you could use those in their Phones & Camera's. I think your looking for that PS-Vita Memory that was only made to be used by it, and it alone. That my dear friend was low... Very, very low!

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"The quality of a blu-ray over a normal DVD is immense."

One with a proper transfer is, at least.

However, Sony may not be losing BD money on the royalties from disc sales but rather from hardware sales. DVD players got replaced because newer ones got extra features like HD upscaling, but BD started out with everything users could need and apart from adding 3D - which is a niche market - it hasn't gone anywhere since. I've had my current BD player for almost four years now and nothing has come out since that improves on it.

Sony are also hampered a little by their own success with the PS3 and PS4. If you bought a Sony console you already have a 3D-capable BD player. I don't know if the Playstations are still being sold as loss leaders, but if they are then Sony are undercutting their own dedicated hardware.

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Pint

Re: Pride goeth before a fall

"Too bad, really, they've always made nice kit."

Well, perhaps excluding their (in)famous ICFCL75IP bedside alarm clock gadget-thingy with the glorious 7-inch LCD screen. I have two. The lovely GUI crashes after about a month or two, probably due to an OS memory leak (seeing as how the same bug affects both of mine, and the vast number that were on the market as "refurbished" [refunded, to be sold again...]). So, an Alarm Clock where you wake up at about 9:39 am to see a blank 7-inch screen staring back at you. As useful as a chocolate teapot.

But yes, you're generally correct.

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@Tiny Iota - Re: Pride goeth before a fall

Please watch a movie made more than 10 years ago on a 52in screen (or smaller) at a distance of at least 2 meters (unfortunately that's my setup) and come back here to plead for the superiority of blue-ray disc over DVD. Better DRM is perhaps the only notable difference.

Blue-ray or DVD I doesn't really matter to me, it's the content that I'm looking for but sadly, when you're not interested in leatest and greatest Hollywood movies then you're out of luck.

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Re: Pride goeth before a fall

You rent DVDs instead of BluRays? Is your Sony tv so terrible that you can't tell the difference?

I really don't get how you could otherwise go with that decision. Sure, if you said stream > disc, I'm all on board with you. I have a Xbone (won it for free) and I've yet to buy a physical game disc (took a day to download each game though).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pride goeth before a fall

"We have Blue-ray. And a nice Sony Bravia TV. But we never actually use Blue-ray discs. There's no point. We rent DVDs or d/l films (legally)"

Ditto - but Panasonic Plasma. And we download movies legally for free. It's only illegal if you upload (distribute) them...

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Sony hobbled MiniDisc, threw away their technical and market lead

"Same with Mini-disc; saddles it with proprietary (if superior) format, refuses to support mp3 until it's, again, too late to salvage it."

If Mini-Disc (which came out in 1992) had supported what it had the *potential* to do- i.e. fully digital transfers at the per-track level- that probably would have become a common file format instead.

I say "tracks" and not "files" because at the time MiniDisc came out, far fewer people were computer literate and comfortable with computers, and most people didn't have computers powerful enough to play compressed audio files anyway. (*)

So marketing this as music "file" transfer wouldn't have caught on with Joe Public circa 1992... but the ability to copy and transfer individual "tracks" of music between MiniDisc devices without analogue degradation would have (especially if they could be transferred at much better than real-time listening speed) would. Such tracks would be ATRAC music "files" in all but name, and probably would have evolved into such once they were transferred off MiniDiscs and onto the Internet by pioneering geeks. There's no real reason why Sony couldn't have had MiniDisc support this file-like track-by-track transfer if it already had the basic digital technology in place on the device.

Well, no reason except that Sony got into the content business (films and music) from the late-80s onwards and had a conflict of interest, hobbling MiniDisc with digital copy restrictions (and that having to be done in real-time).

Even when MP3 came along, Sony dragged their heels, eventually releasing an ATRAC-based iPod-alike that required MP3 files to be (automatically) converted, as if they were in a position to force ATRAC over MP3, when they'd already left it five years too late (post-Napster) to beat MP3, which they could have pre-empted in the first place. (Possibly there was also some NIH-ism in their attempt to force ATRAC on their (not-)MP3 players).

As I've said on several occasions, Sony- one time leader of the portable audio market- totally squandered their position; it was theirs to lose, they had the technology to keep it, and they threw it away to a company that had no previous track record in mainstream audio, or anything much outside computers (i.e. Apple). And Sony's conflict of interest with their content division may well have been the main cause.

(*) Apparently when MP3 started gaining acceptance as a file-exchange format in the mid-90s, it used up most of a typical PC's CPU time just to play them.

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Re: Pride goeth before a fall

Exactly thomas k.

The list of self inflicted wounds is very long, from their consumer gear to their pro gear. From hardware to software. From toys to PCs. From their marketing to their internal corporate mess.

As I've posted before, their products are simply over-priced, do not follow standards and there are far too many other companies making products just as good for less money.

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Re: Pride goeth before a fall

There were a lot of wounds on Betamax. I always thought their refusal to DRM it was a bigger culprit. It meant most of the stuff from Hollywood was only on VHS. Ironically I think that mistake is what lead to their later bigger mistakes with DRM. Since it was such a big part of their Betamax failure they did a full reverse.

But I'll concur that telling the #1 equipment manufacturer to take a hike was a huge mistake.

The Blu-ray issue is also fairly obvious: for the average punter there's not a huge difference between Blu-ray quality and DVD quality when they buy commercial films. So it doesn't demand the premium they ask. And that's before streaming starts to cut into your sales. Yes, the aficionados will pay the price, but that's a niche market. You can make money in niche, but not if you assume broad market quantities instead of niche.

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Re: may not be losing BD money on the royalties from disc sales

Read the article again.

They specifically wrote down the income from disc manufacturing, not the whole hardware division.

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Meh

Bad news, but I'm struggling to be sympathetic

I agree that the world needs Sony. MS needs competition in the gaming arena and it's only because of the laid back attitude that Sony took with the PS4 that MS was forced to backtrack on some of the awful restrictions that they wanted to impose on the XBone. As a result, I want the PS4 to succeed and the XBone to fail.

But, with their past attitude towards consumers (the awful rootkit scandal and their bungled response to it, the DRM which crippled the Minidisk system, appalling Vaio support etc), Sony is a company which has exhausted a lot of my sympathy. I've spent the last few years avoiding Sony where possible as a result due to their previous immoral attitudes towards its previously loyal customers, so I'm not surprised to see them losing money. Dump on your customers and they'll return the favour by shopping elsewhere.

Saying that, I hope Sony does survive. Their attitude with the PS4 has been much improved. If they keep it up, maybe I will one day buy Sony products again.

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Ooops

Guess the HD DVD war wasn't one that was worth winning, then ?

I think this was probably a long time coming. Outside of the console business, I don't think many people really care about buying Sony products anymore. I think they're in long term decline, unless they find a hat or two with a rabbit inside.

Apple once desired to be Sony, maybe now they will buy them and revive their TV business.

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Re: Ooops

I doubt it. Apple do not have the Reality Distortion power any longer to sell £200 TVs at £400 and £500 models at £1000.

There is no margin in TVs. Samsung and LG make very good TVs. With slightly rounded corners. Would Apple's Sony-Apple branded Chinese made models compete?

If they don't sell them as Sony, they don't need to buy anything. Any Chinese OEM will make Apple a TV, nearly as good as a Samsung or LG. If they did sell them as Sony they can't have Apple pricing.

I think Turkish Vestel is now making the Toshiba. They made the Mitsubishi Black Diamond even back in the 4:3 CRT days. So why would Apple buy ANY Japanese TV brand today? The physical sets would be made in China or Turkey or Malaysia anyway by existing OEM such as Foxconn or Vestel.

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Re: Ooops

Agree about "why would Apple buy Sony's stuff" because they don't need a manufacturing arm. Apple manufactures nothing. They outsource everything except marketing.

Regarding how Apple would compete though... iTunes. Which is amusing, because iTunes is not fundamentally that different from DRM. It is basically DRM-lite.

We're at an interesting place in the movie industry. You can buy a DVD for $X, a DVD+BluRay combo for $X+Y and a DVD/BluRay/Digital for $X+Y+Z. The digital is the interesting piece. I never buy solely digital titles because of uncertainty about what could become of them. If all my movies (worth hundreds or thousands of dollars) are in the Apple iTunes cloud and Apple goes out of business, what do I have? Nothing? The disc is a fallback plan. Apple is probably one of the few firms that can convince people that they aren't going anywhere, so they have one of the most appealing strategies regarding digital distribution.

Of course the counter to that is Apple doesn't play nice. You play their game or they're taking their ball and going home. Services like Amazon and Google share instead of being spoiled.

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Sad

The giant Philips is gone. Back to pre-1922 Light Bulb business. They were the only serious European innovation [consumer Electronics, Valves, then Transistors then ICs, they owned Mullard from 1928) and only meaningful competition to Japan from 1960s.

The great German companies all gone entirely (Grundig, Telefunken) or only Industrial (Siemens). The UK consumer Electronics played out by 1960s, Thorn was the last and strangled by their own bean counters killing quality.

Another step toward Chinese dominance. All those traditional labels you see (RCA, Alba, Bush, Goodmans, Grundig, Philips are just labels on Chinese or sometimes Turkish (Vestel) OEMs.

The American Consumer Electronics are all long gone. RCA 1986.

(Apple is a Marketing company, Intel & Qualcomm narrow chip markets, MS well ... no Consumer Electronics giant).

The influence of the Media division from the days of Mini-Disc has crippled Sony Electronics.

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Re: Sad

> Back to pre-1922 Light Bulb business.

You misspelt "pushing extremely expensive electronic-enhanced fluorescent tubes to consumers via the political backdoor of green regulation".

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