back to article Sony blames record $5.7bn loss on everything but Sony

Disasters both natural and manmade have led to tech megacorp Sony reporting a record loss for the fiscal year ending in March. Sony blamed its performance on the 2011 earthquake that wrecked east Japan and Thailand's devastating floods, both of which disrupted factories and suppliers, as well as poor consumer appetite for …

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Re: why the hate?

My Sony-hate derives from an earlier age. Sony used to have a reputation for quality, and you would buy Sony hifi equipment because of the quality.

At some point, they decided to cash in on that reputation, and built some god-awful kit that was cheaper than their regular kit, but way more expensive than equivalent, non Sony kit. Loads of people paid extra for the Sony mark of quality and got ripped off.

I'd rather buy an Onkyo or Wharfedale than Sony these days.

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Devil

Re: why the hate?

"I really dont understand the hate about Sony."

Besides the fact that they committed offences under the Misuse of Computers Act with a rootkit that contained illegally-copied code, criminal damage to PlayStation 3 consoles and illegally demanded information from ISPs about customers using their own property in ways the Law of the Land explicitly says Sony cannot seek to prevent them from doing?

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Re: why the hate?

Simply because they dont give a flying fuck about their customers once they have your £$€ in their pocket.

They move the goalposts at a whim to either limit functionality, spy or generally do what they like with the "We're Sony and we WILL do what we want with the equipment YOU own". attitude to the public whom spend hard earned cash on Sony products.

Their aftercare service is the epitome of shit..No spares after 2 years???WTF??

Frankly i cant wait to see em in real trouble.

The only sony products i buy are the ones i can hack so i can, in my own way, cost them money as an act of retribution for the utter contempt they have shown me and others like me....

You piss off your paying customers and eventually those same customers come back and bite you hard in the arse.....Sony are now learning this....

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Re: why the hate? - Blu-ray

Should probably remember that blu-ray was always going to be the next generation, but Toshiba threw the spanner in the works and created the competing HD-DVD format after they didn't like some aspect or other of BD (I forget now exactly why they didn't like it).

Sony weren't the ones going for spoiling tactics, Toshiba were.

I've owned loads of Sony kit over the years - all the Playstations (my first generation PS3 fat, with the 4 front USB ports and a flash card reader is still running smoothly), a Trinitron TV (which was only replaced when I went flat-screen, it's still working fine in a shared flat with some friends, after 15 years or so), home cinema system (again, still working after I sold it to a mate, which is more than can be said for my Marantz amp that is barely 3 years old). Plus more, but you get the idea.

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Boffin

Lots of reasons to love and hate Sony.

As Captain Underpants said, Bad Sony has been on the rise and the general public has noticed it. 12 years ago, my parents' home was a 100% Sony shop: Sony Stereo, Sony CD Player, Sony TV, Sony VCR, Playstation, my (still working) Walkman. Currently my home has 2 PS3s (which I'll explain later), the aforementioned stereo which I rescued from my mom's attic, a Walkman, and my probably still functional SE W300i I used back in 2007.

Sony lost the hardware edge, and then went on being dicks on the whole PS3 OtherOS issue. I was bitten by their OtherOS axing; I refused to dole out money for a new PS3 so I remained offline until I found a compromise option: buying a phat PS3 with the BC support and updating *that* one to the OtherOS-killing Firmware. They turned from the freedom-fighting Sony that fought the MAFIAA on fair use rights for VCRs to the one installing rootkits on PCs and going after people trying to re-enable OtherOS instead of simply switching OtherOS back on. Probably the only good thing to come in recent years besides the PS3 would be the BD standard, which has been superior to HDDVD since forever, and unencumbered by MS crappy tech.

Maybe Sony should get rid of its Music branch and get back to treating well their customers and doing awesome consumer products. It seems the Media stuff is the root of all Sony's evil...

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FAIL

Re: why the hate?

>The ps3 is a marvel

No it wasn't. It was a third place overpriced under performing console that cost Sony billions (it lost as much as Sony made on the PS2). The CELL BE was a terrible idea that the market rejected because surprise surprise full multi core CPUs were much easier to code for and came out just as the CELL finally made it to market. The only good thing about the PS3 was blue ray but even that was not ready for prime time when the PS3 came out and it jacked the price up so much it assured Sony would lose money this generation. I guess its ok though because Sony learned their lesson with the runaway success of the Vita (hahahaha).

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Re: why the hate?

Something I don't see mentioned very often is Sony's horrible CD players, whether built into a portable stereo, car deck, or standalone component (especially the old carousel ones). I don't think I've ever heard of one lasting for more than a year after the warranty has expired.

As for their TVs, The Trinitron and Wega were pretty nice (if a bit pricey) but their new LCDs are no better than most of the other major brands, and you're still paying a premium because they say "Sony" on the front.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: why the hate?

XBox fanboys mostly. They seem to congregate a lot here.

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Re: why the hate?

Mostly irrelevant. You clearly don't have a clue.

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Re: why the hate?

Sony Centre != Sony

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Re: why the hate?

The thing is, though...

Sony Centre != Sony, but rather importantly they have paid for a licence to use Sony's logo and trademarks.

So if Sony Centre as a non-Sony company run a load of shops offering the kind of retail experience (in terms of shop layout, stock availability, and staff training/knowledge/professionalism) that you expect from a particularly bad Dixons (or, worse, Argos!), then while it's not doing Sony any harm directly (because their bottom line isn't directly affected) it's still massively harming the brand because it establishes/reinforces the idea that Sony are greedy gits providing poor value for money.

For Sony Centres to have a future, they need to be the Sony equivalent of an Apple store. Hell, Sony could learn a lot from Apple. (I don't like the Fruity Ones, particularly, but I acknowledge that they do a lot of things very well, one of them being keeping a tight reign on their product line to avoid bloat).

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MJI
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Re: why the hate? TVs

Actually there is/was a pattern.

One shot had 4 Sony LCDs next to each other, 2 crap 2 good.

Different prices, people bought the craps ones for the badge and the expensive ones for the picture.

S series was pretty basic & crap, W series was very good, one was cheap one was good value and they were not the same TV.

Wega TVs were awsome, untill they dropped the prices too much. I paid 1200 for a 32" 50Hz TV - outstanding picture on it, later ones - quality poorer.

CD players - my car changer is old and OK. My home player is a Pioneer DVD player - now that was an excellent and good value piece of kit.

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Anonymous Coward

They're gonna have even more fun turning a profit now Japan has gone to a pure fossil fuel import power base. All that lovely expensive imported half way around the world power.

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no TV

I don't have a TV but I am considering buying one. Will it be a Sony? More probably a Samsung or LG. Need a cheap 50" with PC connectivity.

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FAIL

poor consumer appetite for...

Poor customer appetite?

For shiny gear... no.

For rootkit infested products? Yes.

For products that have features taken away after purchase? Yes.

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Anonymous Coward

I used to always purchase Sony equipment, it used to be a 'no-brainer'. The CRT tvs they sold were the finest on the market in my opinion. The build quality was pretty damn good, I lost count of the amount of times I've dropped my old tape/cd walk/discman and they always kept working. The PS1 & 2 were equally good on build quality.

Over the last 10 years I've noticed Sony going backwards in terms of development, with little to no research being carried out. They used to push the boundaries, now they seem to just play it safe. My recent experiences of Sony support (PS3 failed) have been horrendous. Poor service, poor repair.

Sony was my default tv/dvd/car audio/games console of choice. Now pretty much everything Sony do, has/is being done better by another company and cheaper. I didn't mind paying for the Sony name when the products lasted and were of good build quality, now I'd go out of my way to avoid them. My tv is Samsung (same panel as Sony, as Samsung make the Sony panels), my car audio is now Alpine, I still have my (second) PS3 and DVD player - which are Sony, but when this PS3 fails (which it will), I will be looking at alternatives in a new light.

Sony has completely lost the plot. They think they can live on the name, the problem is that name hasn't stood for quality for over 10 years. Shame really as I did like the stuff.

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MJI
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I know what you mean.

Where is the QS range on audio & home cinema gear?

Where is the better than average middle price stuff?

I tend to like Sony stuff but I am unimpressed with their recent consumer products.

Go to a Sony Centre and have a look around, apart from the TVs not much else there worth buying, the Home Cinema kit is no longer syaing buy me - hifi now just seems to be docks for other brands of MP3 players.

I will say that I bought a video camera 2 years ago and Sony won that sale fair and square against - well I couldn't find much else apart from them as I wanted HDV - hidef Mini DV tapes.

So what do they need to do?

Make their kit aspirational again, make it the best in its market, it is only a couple of years ago when this was sayable with their top end LCD TVs, they used to sell loads of mid range home cinema kit, now it is cheap and flimsy or very expensive.

Their digital stills camera have a lack of image and brand, at their level the market name belongs to Nikon or Canon. Digital video market appears to have collapsed, but their semi pro kit is nice.

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Pint

Sony and my wife are so similar.

Nothing is ever her fault either. Or so she tries to make the rest of the world believe.

I think I'll have a beer now :-)

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I guess earthquakes are preventing them to create a workable browser on PS3 for years now.

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Mushroom

Yes I do want them changing the console after I bought it, and YES they have.

They added 3d, iplayer, lovefilm, PS home, trophy support, dynamic themes, more media formats, move, loads of stuff in the past few years.

NO i don't want rootkits, NO I never had any, NO I didn't buy anything with a rootkit in.

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MJI
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PS3 and XBox same failure

Bad contacts between PCB and graphics chip.

What causes this?

heat & lead free solder, not flexible enough to cope.

I think this is more to blame for failures than anything else now

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Facepalm

From reading the PS3 hating comments it seems that Sony shouldnt have bothered with trying to make it a media console, and should have stayed only on games, that way these other people who bought it at £250 for just browsing the web would not be complaining now, and the people who bought it for the ace game experiences (LBP, Heavy Rain, Uncharted, Journey, etc) would be the ones who would remain happy.

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Anonymous Coward

absolutely

Who the hell wants to do web browsing on a PS3? Almost any web device is better, it's just not what the machine is for. I could fry eggs on the top of my toaster but it would be hard work and messy.

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MJI
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Re: absolutely

Umm I can only think of online help.

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Anonymous Coward

Arrogance

Sony's after sales arrogance was staggering when I last bought a piece of their kit (not SE) about 10 years ago, and never bought again apart from a set of headphones that snapped after a year. That leads on to the quality issues. My family has purchased several SE phones over the years, mainly due to loyalty to Ericsson, but year on year the reliability and quality has really deteriorated, so switched to Nokia, and was amazed at the difference in the build quality, albeit Symbian is even buggier than windows, i can't believe I would ever say that anything was buggier than windows.

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MJI
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After sales - variable

Good - full service and new CCD sensor

Bad - lack of interest in YLOD

My last camera was in the bad CCD period, but deck was playing up, sent it to Sony and it came back working

40GB PS3 YLODed, Sony offered a S/H repaired one for a reasonable (to them price) in exchange, but would NOT transfer data so would mean losing ALL of our saves and DLC.

Got it repaired for less than half the cost but that didn't last so DIYed it and transfered to a newer one a 320GB Slim.

Yes I could have gone elsewhere but it was at the period of RROD, (same problem) and what else would have played Uncharted 2?

Thinking about it the 40GB PS3 is OUR least reliable - 2 YLODs, Wii never broken down (never used), PS2 has had a Laser, Dreamcast laser is gone, most reliable and used is a PSP, the DSs are both getting ratty.

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Vic
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Variable?

> My last camera was in the bad CCD period, but deck was playing up

I've got a camera in my workshop. A customer left it with me, as it was BERed by Sony.

It's a Mavica camera with quite a nice lens on it. It writes images to 3-in CDs.

Well, this camera had stopped writing to the CD. It kept failing, which was of no use to anyone. My customer took it to the local camera shop, who sent it back to Sony for testing.

Sony said that they tested it thoroughly, and the drive was knackered. A new drive was £600. I shit you not. The camera was written off, and a replacement (not a Sony) purchased.

I put a decent-quality CD in the drive, and it's yet to fail on anything...

Vic.

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FAIL

doesn't add up

How can Sony be losing so much money what with the runaway success of the Vita? Hahahahaha. Totally basking in the schadenfreude that Sony has fully earned.

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arrogance

Sony's biggest downfall has been their arrogance. They were market leaders and they were sure that the market would do as they commanded and that they could set everything to their liking, expecting customers to still come flocking. They insist on introducing proprietary formats and refused to bow to the market demands - as a result they lost the mobile music player market to apple. They released a massively overtech'ed console that showed little if any improvement over their rivals at a substantial cost to themselves and as a result they squandered the playstation dominance and have to make do with 1/3 of the market at best. There is one entity to blame for their current debacle and that is Sony. Until they recognise that they will never return to their glory days.

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Vic
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Re: arrogance

> They insist on introducing proprietary formats

Actually, much of the time, the formats are not proprietary. It;s just the name...

Years ago, there was an article on ZDnet (IIRC). The author was making a fuss about Sony having introduced yet another compression format called i.Link.

i.Link wasn't a compressor. It was a data link. I was permitted by corprat to write a reply to the article explaining that - but I was *not* permitted, under penalty of $unspecified, even to hint at the fact that this magical i.Link was simply 1394...

Nobody bought i.Link because they were scared of being locked into a proprietary standard.

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: arrogance

I am surprised no one mentioned memory sticks: same capacity 5 times the price.

That sums up Sony's attitude in the last 10-15 years. They were THE BRAND before that, but now they are a consumer-hating and consumer-hated corporation.

Marketing and bean-counters probably took control over engineers back then.

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FAIL

Re: arrogance

>Marketing and bean-counters probably took control over engineers back then.

Nope the media executives from Sony Studios did.

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Re: arrogance

iLink was pretty popular out here in Aus with the "serious" home video people. But only once it was common knowledge that it was just firewire 1394 rebadged. With the addition of a $25 PCI card you had a pretty foolproof digital video solution.

The catch is (for Sony anyway) that no one called it iLink except when identifying the socket on a Sony camera,,,

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MJI
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i.Link

This is confusing, but I found out that 1394 = Firewire = iLink

I call the leads trailing out of the PC USB and Firewire

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MJI
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Re: asdf

Actually I think that MOST of Sonys issues are due to the music studios and film studios management.

They are at odds with the Japanese side of technical excellence.

And we can lay the blame at all the people who bought VHS!

Why?

Because Sony only bought into media to make sure they could support a new format rather than have it wiped out. So if Beta had survived they would not have bought Root Kit music (part of same group as a movie studio)

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Vic
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Re: i.Link

> I found out that 1394 = Firewire = iLink

Yes, of course it is.

The point I was making is that Sony would not allow me to tell anyone that. We had to pretend that i.Link was some uber-proprietary interface that only Sony had.

And that is why Sony got nowhere with that strategy.

Vic.

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MJI
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Re: i.Link 15:49

That is silly

Best to ignore that and carry on

Same socket anyway - I think all DV and HDV have the same

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Vic
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Re: i.Link 15:49

> That is silly

Yes. That was the purpose of my post - to demonstrate that it was a crazy position and a good part of the reason that Sony's venture into 1394 went nowhere. Well done for getting that.

> Best to ignore that and carry on

It's much easier to ignore it when you're not in danger of getting fired for doing so.

> Same socket anyway

That would be because it is the same interface, as I mentioned in my initial post...

Vic.

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Meh

A Sony fanboy speaks

I've got a fair amount of Sony kit, so some thoughts from that point of view.

Over the past few years the build quality has definately going down. In the past year the Bluray player and amp I've purchased have been significantly more lightweight than their several year old predecessors

Meanwhile as someone else pointed out, there is a lack of synergy (can I use that word here?) between products. A case in point being the Bluray player point blank refusing to acknowledge some video formats/codecs, but the PS3 not having any problems at all. They both have had various firmware updates, so it's not as if they've been completely abandoned. Similarly my new amp is touted an AV reciever with a DLNA client, but doesn't support streamed video at all!

On a similar subject I'm now pretty used to the XMB style interface that most visual Sony products have. So I have no idea which team of idiots developed and signed off the abomination that my amp presents me with. Words fail me at how bad it is, so as a picture paints a thousand words, imagine this on a 40" screen: http://asset2.cbsistatic.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2011/08/09/IMG_0026_540x303.JPG . A great use of screen real estate, no?

As for the very bad things Sony have done (to me) the worst has to be the proprietry hardware/software formats it foists on us. I'd got fed up with having to buy yet another evolution of Memory Stick with suitably evolved name for a huge price. Fortunately for Sony someone up top decided to allow their cameras to start using SD as well, as I was virtually on the way to the shop to pick up a Lumix.

I know that Sony Centres/Shops are franchises, but you would like to think a corporate drone would take a look every now and again. When looking to do some amp pre-purchase research I visited three such establishments, and none of them even had a single amp on display. It's almost as if they didn't exist. Bluray players were a bit elusive as well.

So to sum up in report style. Must try harder.

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MJI
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Re: A Sony fanboy speaks

I have a STRDB930 receiver - rather good it is too.

Now I have seen what I am supposed to replace it with - pretty flimsy and I would NOT purchase.

Where is the nice solid stuff you know will last you 10 to 15 years now?

I wouldn't mind a HDMI switching amp

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Megaphone

The fact is that Sony is no longer an electronics company

Anyone who is surprised over the way Sony prioritizes media sales in their products must take a look at their annual report. Sony has long since stopped being a true consumer electronics company, now it makes more money from media than from consumer electronics. On page 35 of the 2011 annual report, you will find that 35.5% of their revenue comes from media (including Sony Pictures, Sony Music, and games), 31.9% of their revenue comes from consumer electronics, and the rest is from electronics components, financial services and "other".

Now, once you make more money from media than from the devices, obviously, any sane CEO will start prioritizing the devices capability as a sales channel for media, rather than the devices themselves.

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MJI
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Re: The fact is that Sony is no longer an electronics company

Media - well I haven't bought any of their music recently not sure on films as I do not buy that many now.

However last year we bought 3 Sony exclusive games more or less day of release, I think this more likely to make money than yet another identikit talent show singer.

However games is one media tied closely to hardware.

As to hardware purchases - check lists more important than brands

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