Sony's Opportunity

It's difficult to articulate the truly intense frustration I feel with Sony.

The company that built the Walkman and the Playstation has slowed to a stuttering, jarring, and disjointed momentum in the past few years. Aligning itself with pointless new formats (i.e., the Mini-disc and the UMD), dropping itself into and out of markets, and making overpriced televisions, Sony is simply not the company that it once was.

And that's to be expected, I suppose. Companies grow, and companies change. That's nothing new. But with regard to Sony, their potential is, and always has been, enormous.

So today, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal (via Engadget), CEO Howard Stringer dropped a tantalizing bit of information: Sony is actively looking to build a unified platform to compete with Apple.

That is an exciting prospect, regardless of any allegiances you might have to any company.

In recent years, Apple has been operating fluidly, thoughtfully, and impressively. As such, the company has built what is arguably the most unified experience available, if you choose to buy into it. The iTunes ecosystem is enormous, yet simple. It provides all you need in an uncomplicated manner. The introduction of iCloud has cemented this fact.

Apple's dominance in this field is worrying, insofar as it lacks competition. Sure Android's out there, but it's a fractured system, and the most impressive implementations of it are now fully-external from Google. On top of that, Google's own attempts at a modern iTunes-rivaling infrastructure have fallen flat. The Google Bookstore (despite the hype) sits silently in its Internet corner, and the Google TV initiative was a disaster -- acknowledged even by its primary partner, Logitech.

But Sony -- a company known for its disruptive roots -- (re-)entering the scene in a meaningful way? That could be huge for the industry. Sony isn't exactly known for its software capabilities, but there's no reason that can't change.

Apple, just like any other company, needs competition, and right now, the competition is severely lacking. 

Sony's image is fraught with controversy at the moment following the disastrous hacking scandal this summer. So what better time, I ask, than to wipe the slate clean? Do something meaningful and positive, shed the dead skin, and get back to being the company you were built to be.