Sony Exec Discusses Apple

Dennis Faas's picture

When Sony's Chief Executive Sir Howard Stringer recently sat down for an interview, one common theme kept coming up: Apple. Stringer revealed that his company blew it on the digital media front and lost out to the Apple's iPod, but swore that he would not repeat the same mistake when going head to head with the iPhone.

When Stringer took over as head of Sony in 2005, he says that every branch of the company was a silo -- operating independently and sheltered from one another. This compartmentalized structure, he says, let to some serious delays in the company's digital music efforts.

Stringer said, "we were working with IBM on electronic music distribution and could have put this out five years earlier [than the iPod]. But we couldn't get our people to understand software. And we are a music company. They saw digital media, panicked and didn't like it." (Source:

Sony's delay in changing gears from the ATRAC format to the MP3 format was detrimental, since the company only made the switch after Apple had already been crowned as the reigning industry leader. (Source:

Despite Sony's ill-fated attempt to combat the iPod, Stringer vows that the Sony-Ericsson partnership will not result in the company playing catch up to Apple's iPhone. Instead of stalling its efforts, the partnership has already capitalized on the idea of music on phones, and has seen impressive sales results, especially in Europe. (Source:

"Steve Jobs spotted a trend that we've seen. The phone is a convergence device, between music and a phone. We are all building variations on the same theme," said Stringer. (Source:

Then again, Stringer knows better than to think that Sony is already safe in the cellular phone industry. Reluctant to underestimate Apple, he added, "I would never sit up here and say I'm not worried about Steve Jobs. I wouldn't bet against Steve." (Source:

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