One of the first things I do when I get up in the morning is to check the news on a handful of different tech sites like Endadget, Gizmodo, AppleInsider, as well as general news sites like CNN. I'm always stunned at the level of moronic stupidity some people when they open their mouths without considering their perspective and how their very position grossly undermines any credibility they may have.
Apparently there was a media conference in Sun Valley Idaho this week with a roundtable discussion led by Anderson Cooper. Among the panelists were the founders of Amazon (Jeff Bezos), Google (Sergey Brin), Media mogul Barry Diller, and Sir Howard Stringer, Sony's CEO. The focus of the panel was changes in multimedia delivery technology for entertainment and news. Sir Howard has a bug up his ass about Apple. This is not entirely surprising as Apple has questioned the use of DRM software and has taken great pains to appear as consumer-friendly as possible by trying to eliminate DRM through their iTunes service. Never mind Apple's FairPlay software or the fact that their CD-quality download options come tagged with your personal iTunes account info. In the event that you should hypothetically copy or distribute these tracks, you could be nailed for it.
So where was I? Oh yeah - Sir Howard's comments.
Sir Howard had called Apple Chairman Steve Jobs "greedy." He felt that it was disingenuous of Mr. Jobs to accuse record companies of being greedy because they want to get paid a percentage for music downloads. Sir Howard's basis for this accusation was that with the recent launch of the iPhone, Mr. Jobs wants a marketplace where only he makes money.
Let's take a look at a few facts, shall we? While Sony was one of the first companies to embrace digital media for music, they had used proprietary technology like SonicStage and the ATRAC codec. Any piece of Sony hardware that plays digital music defaults to ATRAC, and it usually comes with SonicStage as well. The only problem is that ATRAC and SonicStage suck. ATRAC file sizes may be smaller than other audio codecs, but Sony has been grossly reluctant to embrace other standards and hardware from competitors. To be fair, this was not on Sir Howard's Watch. At the time ATRAC came out, Sir Howard was busy as CBS President. He had his hands full getting David Letterman to move from NBC to CBS.
Also to be fair, Sony has their hands full with a really shitty couple of years. Sony laptop batteries have been known to overheat and catch fire. Immediately before the PlayStation3 came out, Sony was the proverbial 800-lb gorilla in the video game market. Thanks to the raging success of the PlayStation2, and the launch of the PSP (PlayStation Portable), Sony was riding the gravy train with biscuit wheels. The PS3 was supposed to be not only a shitkicker of a video game system, it was supposed to be the new center of home entertainment with next-gen Blu-Ray DVD playback. The problem was an exorbitant pricetag, gross hardware shortages, underwhelming software - shit I could go on, but for now, let's focus on Sir Howard.
Sony has all but a stranglehold on life. While they make some products that live up to their hype, It is grossly hypocritical of Sir Howard to bitch about Apple getting a larger share of consumers' wallets. Sony Ericsson phones, Walkmen, TVs, DVD players, Vaio computers, software, video games, toys, music, and movies are just some of the examples of Sony's penetration into our lives. Am I complaining? Hell no. Apple is trying to get as big a piece of your wallet as they can. This is simple marketing. If you have any doubts as to this fact, try your best to dislodge your heads from the sand.
I absolutely love my PS2, but if Sir Howard is going to go on record making inflammatory remarks about ANYONE much less alone a competitor, he better damn well be able to take the heat. Apparently Sir Howard lacks the courage to even stand by his remarks, because when Anderson Cooper and Barry Diller called him on his statement at the panel, Sir Howard backed away from his jab at Steve Jobs. And what the Hell is with his Knighthood? Maybe I'm being overly romantic about this, but I thought that a British subject was knighted for their service to or defense of the British Empire. If making sure that I can get "TJ Hooker, Volume 1" on DVD is a suitable defense of Balmoral, then all I have to say is "God Save the Queen."