Point taken, Frank. My use of "cluelessness" was not meant to imply lack of intelligence. However, the system in question, like any other of the same ilk, cannot survive without a constant infusion of R&D. Hardly unusual, these days.
The one manager assumed the company would milk the existing product for all it was worth, without investing R&D funds. Which would have meant a quick demise. Life support consisted of introducing new features "under the radar," on the cheap, until new management finally allowed more major upgrades. This system is alive and kicking to this day, multiple upgrades later.
I think the missing piece in that manager's logic was to see what exactly differentiated this product, and how/why those features that differentiate it were going to continue to be in demand.
Interesting. Bert used the phrase "life support" and I said "skunk works", but I think we mean pretty much the same thing -- keeping it going until you find the right champion to allow it to come out of hiding and back to the front burner.
I wouldn't go as far as Bert and say clueless management. Intelligent people often disagree, and in the case of managers, that can mean different priorities in allocating limited resources (i.e., opportunity cost) and different assessments of risk vs. reward for a particular new product proposal. That doesn't mean one manager is a genius and the other is clueless -- just that they see things differently -- and unfortunately neither of them is clairvoyant.
If we had clairvoyant managers who knew exactly the revenues, costs and schedules for one product vs. another, our jobs would be easy -- just build the product that will make the most money!
I think I better not answer that other than to clarify that the projects I'm thinking of were IP developments that had longer time horizons and thus were not part of the closely-watched, regularly statused pipeline of new product development -- at least not at the time some manager tried to kill them.
Later, after additional progress by engineers quietly working "in their spare time" to keep the IP warm and move it forward, and usually after the opposing manager had moved on, the IP development effort could be openly discussed again, officially resourced and included in a real product -- including some products that made real money.
Take heart. Even if that Sony tablet could have survived, it would have been built in China anyway. Just like iPads. I agree that the price point was way off, though.
I've certainly experienced clueless management that refused to invest development money in a product, and almost let it die. Fortunately for me, such managers do get replaced eventually, so it was a matter of keeping the product on life support until a better manager came along. And in my case, it was literally a case of cluelessness. An inability to see the product in the universe of similar, competing ones.
On this Sont product specifically, I couldn't tell from the description whether it used standard Internet Protocol over WiFi, or some proprietary Sony scheme. The mention of "15 Mb/s max" confused me, as that is not a maximum of 802.11 a, or b, or g. So if Sony was trying to sell a proprietary solution, as they have done in other products at times, that might also have contributed to its low appeal.
Hi, D-FlipFlop. I apologize if it strikes you that I am intent on finding negative stories on Japan. Actually, I am not. But things are tough in Japan right now. Especially the nation's electronics industry. Hard to find a rosy picture right now.