Hostile Sony

My response to Why no one’s listening to a Walkman

The open hostility of Sony towards mostly young consumers is what destroyed its brand. They were so hostile in fact that in 2005 Sony BMG included a rootkit on some of its CDs that installed on and interfered with computers running Microsoft Windows, see http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/963aaecc-7bb1-11da-ab8e-0000779e2340.html

Bad press resulting from this debacle was destructive to Sony’s image, it was one of the cases Eliot Spitzer jumped on when he was NY Attorney General. And it wasn’t the first bad press for Sony in its anti piracy crusade, the (perceived) crushing of Napster by Sony and its competitors in 2001 plus the public pursuit of Joel Tenenbaum for file sharing in 2007 were hugely damaging to Sony. All these cases painted Sony as a huge corporate evil machine out to get mostly young music lovers. An entire generation grew up loating Sony and the big four for this behaviour.

The combination of media publishing and electronics manufacturing in one company is poisonous. It remains to be seen if Apple can maintain sufficient flexibility itself as alternatives to iTunes such as Spotify take root. But one lesson to learn from Sony is not to try to take away the toys kids love and punish them for trying to share what they love.