Sony Connect finally dead

Of course the big news this week is Semel out at Yahoo! and Yang in as CEO. That topic has been over-analyzed to death and I don’t have anything new to add to the discussion there.

What I’m sure no one noticed in the midst of the big news in Silicon Valley is that Paid Content reports that at long last Sony Connect is dead as a business.

Sony Connect To Close Music/Video Services; Focus on Servicing Playstation Group; 20 People To Go

And to add insult to injury, Sony’s Japanese music service, Mora has been replaced by Apple’s iTunes at Yahoo! Japan Music.

I’ve written a lot about Sony Connect over the years highlight all the problems with that business:

July 05, 2004 – Sony Connect FAQ

November 10, 2005 – Sony Connect Player 1.0 review

November 22, 2005 – Sony Connect Player fiasco

January 24, 2006 – Cleaning up after Sony Connect Player

April 26, 2006 – Sony Connect E.O.L.

To me, it’s absolutely indicative of the malaise within Sony that Connect wasn’t killed in mid-2006.

But really, no one cares about Sony anymore, because there’s nothing to care about. Wii is killing PS3 in every market around the globe. the DS is killing the PSP in every market around the globe. Sony stock is up on account of Bravia, but “Bravia” is another name for “made by Samsung.” Things may be turning around, and we’re seeing desperately needed management changes, but I don’t yet see new hit products to turn the tide.

4 comments on “Sony Connect finally dead
  1. Karthik Chandramouli says:

    The malaise within Sony was, and continues to be, that they don’t understand software.
    At the time, the Sony Clie was a great device (well, except for the memory stick), but trying to use the Sony Connect website in conjunction with Clie felt similar to being water-boarded in Gitmo — like you were drowning…
    What’s worse is that Sony’s once-vaunted technology competency has diminished to the point that they no longer have a sustainable competitive advantage in fundamental electronics design and manufacturing.
    The Wii is certainly less technologically advanced than the PS3, but a simple accelerometer has revolutionized the gaming experience.
    And, as you mentioned, Sony can’t even make their own LCD screens, relying on Samsung’s superior cost and quality.
    The question is whether Howard Stringer and his team can revitalize Sony enough to reverse the tide? Kutaragi bailed out, but is the damage he did with PS3 too much to rectify?
    I wonder if Sony’s mobile phone business will be their salvation (if only from a profitability perspective), and if they can leverage this business to develop smartphones and other integrated media devices?

  2. Christian Gates says:

    All true. But the SXRD TVs are simply brilliant. Sony can still make a good product, but they certainly don’t have the touch they were supposed to.
    I’m underwhelmed by PS3 – I think it’s a huge miss; too expensive and most of all too much the same!

  3. matt says:

    I guess the iTunes / Yahoo! Japan news confirms who will be releasing the iPhone for Japan …

  4. AG says:

    I agree with you, Karthik, that software has been a major Achilles’ heel for Sony, and I’d include interface in that as well – by which I mean the deeper thought that goes into how product/service hybrids are experienced by the user, not the eyecandy up on the topmost layers of the experience.
    But I’d also argue that Sony’s worst blunders have (recently and historically) concerned proprietary data formats and form factors – the Memory Stick family is particularly egregious in this regard. I understand that a lot of this is driven by the needs and prerogatives of Sony’s various content arms, but it’s basically made Sony hardware a nonstarter for me in every category, no matter how refined or otherwise appealing the device engineering may be.