Not because the current strcuture is inherently unsustainable but because its management (people, structure and processes) have proved incapable of running such a complex structure in a proper way. The financial services side of the business in particular should go.
I agree, splitting out movies is dumb idea, but it REALLY helps those hedge fund guys like Loeb, who love smaller homogeneous businesses which are more volatile, cyclical, and they can make trading money.
In fairness, I was too hard on Sony about being proprietary. Betamax, for example, was Sony's entry in the VCR market when standards were still being established. They wanted it to be the standard, but lost to the folks pushing VHS. And I suspect they wanted the Memory Stick to become a form used by others as well, but it was one more entry in a crowded field, and Sony was the only one who used it. They should have just gone SD in the first place.
I, too, hope they've learned from the experience.
And agreed on the very indirect benefit to the content side for your proposed device. But arguments for keeping Sony a monolithic organization instead of splitting it into HW and content parts really need synergies between the two, and being able to show direct benefits in having both parts under the same roof.
It still don't think splitting up Sony that way is a good idea, but that's an "It feels wrong!" response. Thinking it through and figuring out why it feels wrong is a more complicated proposition. You can make arguments in favor of the split.
...I have always had a big issue with Sony as a consumer. After all, are we not consumers first and foremost? As EEs, we are fortunate enough to be of the educated-type of consumers, when it comes to CE [which is a good thing]. Yet, my biggest gripe with Sony is the fact that they have been in the forefront of "format wars" for quite some time. It is an insulting disservice to the general consumers as to how egregious Sony has been in these format wars.
One of the most recent episodes was the HD-DVD versus the BluRay tussle! A friend, who had innocently purchased the BD version of the movie Matrix, was shocked to find out that it would not play in her DVD player. I thought to help her take it back to Target and they even denied a replacement on a more suitable format as they felt that 'people' were returning them after making copies of the movies. This was circa 2008 and a BluRay recorder cost about $900 and blank media was more expensive than BD movies. This is when I finally started boycotting Sony products.
Let us also not forget the MiniDisc introduction when Sony marketers called it "perfect sound forever" during the technical intro meeting in the Valley for AES members. The DAT format was another Sony snafu. Please also recall that the original music CD production equipment were actually 14 bit recorders, unbeknownst to consumers.
For a few decades, the Sony ROI was significantly helped by the exploitation of the format wars and has been part of their antiquated business model.
DMcCunney, I agree. Proprietary route never worked out for Sony (and never will). And by doing so, I believe it really damaged Sony's credibility. I am hoping that they have learned the lesson by now.
To your question about how the software side of Sony's business can profit from it, I don't think it is reasonable for content side to expect direct and "immediate" benefit from it. Rather, they can take comfort, knowing that their content will be viewed and consumed in the best, most optimal manner -- when consumers used this little smart box of Sony.
I am just thinking out loud here, so I apologize in advance for my half-baked idea here. But you wouldn't call that box a TV biz, would you?
I might. The problem is one of definition.
There is television content, and there are the devices we use to display that content. "TV" might mean either, depending upon context. (And the devices will include both the actual display and the things like set top boxes that put that content on the display.)
I think the sort of box you describe is an interesting notion, and there may well be a market for it. Sony would be well suited to build it.
I'm still not clear how it might directly benefit Sony's content business, unless you want to get into proprietary content formats only usable by the device and only available from Sony's content arm. Sony has tried the proprietary route in the past in hardware (Betamax VCRs, Memory Stick mass storage) and in content (the original ebook format used by the Sony Reader was proprietary.) It has not historically been successful.
Yes, but in the early 2000s still very few people had broadband access to te Internet, there was way less TV content on the Internet, and the codecs in use then (mainly H.323 and proprietary derivatives of it) did not do it justice.
Nowadays, US and foreign TV networks have very nice web sites, mostly ad-supported "free TV," that none of the typical AppleTV/Roku/etc. devices can access. And most people are too lazy (or worse) to connect a PC to their TV sets. While some countries, including the US, block their TV sites to international access, other countries (e.g. Germany) tend not to. And still others allow free access to their news programming, and even to at least some of their prime time programming (on demand).
I totally agree with your Raspberry Pi comment. The CE companies could embed something just like that, and create a nice UI for it. Not many consumers would be savvy enough to do this on their own. Really, I think the situation is almost inexcusable. And since this article about Sony adding value came up, I couldn't help but wonder why Sony (and others) are fast asleep at the switch.
Several companies tried this in the early 2000s. Remember the msn boxes? You could do normal web browsing via a wireless keyboard and mouse. They fell short when people wanted to use them to save images and stuff. I'm a little surprised that there haven't been much of a resurgence here.
I guess it seems like with the cost of small computers now, you basically just add a computer instead of adding a "feature" to the tv. You could easily put a raspberry Pi in line for full computer experience in a set top box sized package.