I think the problem with the duo of Sony and Panasonic has nothing to do with technology. I think it is marketing. It is the same problem Nokia is having with Lumia. When people see your brand as old, it is hard to change that perception. Take a Sony phone to a party of younger ones, people may think you are coming from the ancient world.
Panasonic and Sony had difficult time. But they always design technically very sound products. I alway appreciate Panasonic and Sony products and purchase when I have an oppotunity. I like Panasonic doing what is correct, success and more profit will follow. I look forward to good days for Panasonic and Sony.
Yog-sothoth, you just summed up what just happened in the consumer electronics industry in the last 40 years in mere three paragraphs. Nicely illustrated.
And yet, I am still struggling to explain why things have turned out the way they are now. It's true that good things never last forever, but for someone who watched this industry closely, how things slipped away from the Japanese CE industry still amazes me.
From the 1970's until maybe the ealy 2000's, Sony seemed to be the leader in innovative consumer products - the Walkman was a groundbreaking product just as the iPhone was. It took existing cassette tape technology from something heavy and boring into something mobile and exciting.
Shift forward 40 years and what is Sony cool for? It's TVs were great 10 years ago but Samsung has taken the lead there. Its mobile phone business is in the also-ran group. It had some quite cool laptops years ago (I always loved my old Vaio with its magnesium case, dare I say it more elegant than my current Mac powerbook with its rather harsh angular aluminium case).
What seems to be hapening is that we have new ground leaders in design (e.g Apple) and clever followers (e.g. Samsung) but the old Japanese order are neither. Sad really.
This story talks about the alternate reality in which the corporate execs live, and which unfortunately affects all of us. Panasonic may well have needed to reinvent themselves, and in my experience, it's really hard to say whether this will work out for them or not.
I once worked for a company that had all of the exciting, leading edge programs. One day, the CEO came to talk to us and said, "Our first priority is the shareholder." Uh oh, shoot, the kiss of death just happened here. Sure enough, all the fun divisions (including mine) got sold, lock, stock, and barrel, to another company, and my former company became one of yawn stuff.
But good yawn stuff. It has been doing great, for shareholders that is, in spite of yawn. You don't see it in fun movies anymore, you don't see cool ads that make you want to work there, but would the top execs care? Heck no. MBA schools teach, "corporations are in business to make a profit." Period. Nothing else matters.