I understand that we live in a free enterprise society, and that competition is a virtue for consumers to have the opportunity in finding the right product for the right price. I also understand that over the past fifty years our economy has moved from a closed to an open system that focuses on the consumer moreso than the strict needs of the manufacturer as it did in the past. Sometimes this change in focus may drive the bottom line down, but supply/demand has proven time and time again that a company's survival is based on what the consumer wants.
This leads me to the point of this thread. Over the past thirty years, Sony has attempted time and time again to penetrate the market with a new, often proprietary device, only to end up failing miserably. To back up my claim, I have listed ten formats that have caused quite the controversy and criticism over the years.
1. Beta vs. VHS: The grand daddy of all format wars. This one lasted over 10 years before Sony conceded defeat in 1988 and began manufacturing VHS players. To my knowledge, Sony never attempted to license the technology out to other manufacturers
2. Minidisc vs. casette tape: This time Sony decided to wise up and license the technology out to several other manufacturers in an attempt to take over the audio recording market. The technology met with limited success after its sudden introduction in 1991, and was eventually drowned out by cheaper formats such as CD-R and, later, mp3s.
3. Digital 8 vs. Mini-DV: While boasting identical quality, the Digital 8 format was originally pushed to be a professional grade medium for storing DV footage. Lack of interest and compatibility with professional equipment pushed the format to eventually appeal to only the consumer market.
4. MMCD vs. SD: In the early 1990s, two high density optical storage formats were being developed. Super Density disc (SD) was backed by Toshiba, Time-Warner, Matsushita Electric, Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electric, Pioneer, Thomson, and JVC. MultiMedia Compact Disc (MMCD) was back by Phillips and non other than.....Sony! If it weren't for IBM president Lou Gerstner uniting the two formats and allowing Sony and Phillips to implement some proprietary specs, we would have probably seen a format war that would have surpassed that of Beta and VHS. This format was eventually changed to 'DVD' and led to the formation of the DVD Forum.
5. Memory Stick vs. SanDisk & Lexar: Despite developing the Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, and Memory Stick Micro, Sony once again failed with the formats proprietary nature, as the majority of devices that support it are only from Sony. SanDisck and Lexar, however enjoy significant third party licensees that have led to industry support in both consumer and professional devices.
6. DVD+R vs. DVD-R: Here's an interesting one. After the DVD Forum was created to represent the DVD format and ensure its success, Sony decides to develop DVD+R for the DVD Alliance outside the Forum. Pioneer developed the DVD-R for the DVD Forum. What followed was a massivly confused consumer market over the next several years. Incompatible players, incompatible recorders, and DVDs recorded in the wrong format led to headaches for most buyers. This problem still continues today, although many manufacturers have decided to develop players/recorders that support both formats.
7. MicroMV vs. MiniDV: As if MiniDV wasn't small enough for storage, Sony decides to develop a casette medium 70% smaller that it hoped would appeal to the masses. It didn't. Sony was the only manufacturer to sell camcorders supporting this format, and as of January 2006 it stopped manufacturing any new models.
8. UMD vs. Ipod Video: The biggest problem with Sony's Universal Media Disc, besides its defunct sales, is that the disc is hardly 'Universal'. Developed for use with the PSP, the format has been criticized for its proprietary nature along with the unavialibility of writers and blank media. Because of security reasons and to protect DVD sales, Sony announced no plans for UMD playback on normal televisions. I wouldn't worry about cannabilism because UMDs average around $30 while their DVD counterparts range from about $10 to $25. As for security, the format was cracked soon after it was released. By March 2006 Paramount, Warner, and Sony announced they were cutting back releases while Universal and Image Entertainment ceased development outright.
9. SACD vs. DVD-Audio: This war was doomed from the beginning. Despite being a huge fan of high-res multichannel audio, I (along with most of you) am only one of a small niche of consumers interested in a format better than CD audio. While many format wars had its share of consumer backers to drive revenue, this one never made it to that point. Sony and Phillips backed SACD. The DVD Forum backed DVD-Audio. While the Forum had been established to advance the progression of DVD, Sony must have decided that it would be able to take the market share and break away from the standard. This was not the case; neither format became successful.
10. Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD: So here we are, nine failed formats later. The new format war is at hand that could potentially dethrone the Beta/VHS war. The interesting fact is that this format war, like many others, could have been avoided all together. On November 19, 2003 the DVD Forum declared in an overwhelming majority vote that HD-DVD would be the successor to DVD. All of the home theater enthusiasts across the world had something to look forward to, and the reaction was one of anticipation and excitement. But alas, Newton's Third Law kicked in and showed that every action is followed with an equal and opposite reaction. That opposite reaction was Sony's disapproval of the format and its announcement of the Blu-Ray format it was going to develop outside the consideration of the DVD Forum. The format was boasted superior to HD-DVD in all ways - better picture, better sound, higher storage capacity, more support. Yes, it was going to be twice the price, but you pay for what you get, correct? Now, as we all know, many of these promises have come up short. Granted, the format war is in its infancy, but as history has shown, Sony could potentially shoot themselves in the foot once again and produce another failure, costing millions of dollars and leaving another bad taste in the mouths of consumers across the globe.
I cannot mention the failures of Sony without mentioning its successes. Granted, the company has created several products that spawned worldwide attention, including the Playstations, the new SXRD televisions, and the ever popular 'Ruby'. I just wish the company would find some kind of middle ground that wasn't constantly pleasing, pissing off, pleasing, and then pissing off customers again. The purpose of this thread is for each of you to share your thoughts on what you think of Sony in general, and how you think the company's past will influence its push for Blu-Ray to become the successor to DVD. You may agree with what I say, or you may disagree with me and attempt to tear this post apart, which is fine with me. Either way, I'd like to hear your thoughts.
forum tennis, look right.........................................forum tennis, look left