The ability to learn from mistakes is precious, especially if a person is using someone else’s mistakes instead of his or her own. However, there is no shame in admitting your fails and working hard on the issues to fix them in future. Obviously, Howard Stringer, former CEO of Sony, was able to process the company mistakes and start working towards improving their strategies and products.
Back in 2009, Howard was interviewed by Nikkei Electronics Asia. At that point, he mentioned Sony did fail open technology implementation back in the days, although the idea with Sony Connect service was quite good for its time. But as long as Sony did bet on controlling users and their downloads rather than giving them more freedom with open technology, most Sony users were not pleased. ATRAC format files that only worked with Sony’s music hardware were not that easy to download as they only were to be found at the websites that contracted with Sony. Launched around 2005, Sony Connect was gradually phased out in two years.
The biggest problem with proprietary digital rights is the following: your company or project either skyrockets to success or fails, and the company loses everything. Partially, this approach has been successful for Apple, which was Sony’s rival at some point. In fact, Howard Stringer in his interview did claim that given Sony went with open technology from the start, they would have won the market and beat the Apple right away.
Looking back to this interview now, it is easy to see that Sony did learn from their mistakes (in some way). With Sony Walkman F-series, presented in 2012 and based on open-source Android platform, they did extend their potential audience. Another novelty that is long-discussed – PlayStation Now – would allow launching PS4 exclusive games through PC. And while some claim it to be the end of console gaming era, we are sure Sony would deal with all the issues like a pro.