Re: Death by Corporate Suicide
Sony certainly would make an excellent business school case study...What not to do in business. They should be undisputed leaders in just about every area of consumer electronics, but decisions that would make any rational person scratch their head in disbelief thwart so much of whatever brilliant technology they came up with it's mindblowing. It, of course, persists to this day as anyone who would like to buy a personal a/v player can easily surmise.
When I was a kid, I'm knocking at the door of 50 now, I remember Sony came up from cheap transistor AM radios to trump the almighty Zenith in TVs by the time I was a high school student. Next the Betamax was an amazing invention as the only experience I heretofore had with video tape was a Akai 1/4" video recorder our school athletic dept. used that wasn't ready for primetime yet. By the time Sony made their consumer video format affordable for the masses it was already becoming obsolete because of their stubborness to license it to other manufacturers. JVC simply beat them with what we all know was an inferior system, but with longer recording times and much greater availability since any manufacturer could license it. That pretty much took care of competitive pricing which sunk Betamax in the consumer realm. Let's not forget their ability to come to market with truly ridiculous products too such as the Elcaset and to a lesser degree MiniDisc.
I reconnected, personally, with Sony when they introduced the second generation of their A/V pre-pro the TAE2000ESD preamp. I thought they may be getting back in the game somewhat, however it shortly became obsolete as they had no direct 5 channel input on it and there was no support as to upgrade it for such. I then went to their next gen model the TA9000ES pre/pro and was never happy at all with it as the remote was a disaster and again their was no support to upgrade. One of the two front channels died shortly completing the fiasco. I can see why they haven't made a new pre/pro in the 8 or so years that have followed. TT
I, too, have had several high-end Sony DVD players. The last of which also played SACD discs. When I first received it I couldn't even get the digital out to work at all. Like you I had to do a fair amount of reading and manuvering through screens to enable it. What's the purpose of digital if you think so little of it as to disable it? I think as far as SACD goes the fact that they wanted all decoding done in the actual players (at first) to be a remarkable bone headed decision which, along with the fact they were slow to license the technology yet again, assured failure. At least Toshiba put massive amounts of money into HD-DVD and licensed it freely before conceding defeat. Sony seems to set out for defeat and stubbornly continue on path to insure it!
Well, you certainly touched a raw nerve with me I guess! I was stupid enough to personally stay with them too long. I even bought one of their ND-1 walkmans because it had a 20gig capacity when most had only a gig or less. Amazingly they actually upgraded it at no charge to decode MP3 files instead of just their ATRAC proprietary algorithm (Sony again sticking with a technology it wouldn't license freely). I wrote a review on it on Amazon to the effect of it being like a Porsche Carrera being shipped with tires of granite due to it's crippling softwear required to load music ( I believe the review still exists somewhere on Amazon's site). Apple at their lunch as we all know. Who can feel sympathy for the biggest boneheaded electronics giant who is right on track to being a third or fourth tier player that could easily end up as LG's next bargain basement brand?
Is Sony dead yet? Well, not completely I guess as one of their latest LCD TVs got the only review I've ever seen that actually said an LCD really matched the Pioneer Kuro's blacks. For this former Sony believer though it's simply too little too late.