Dell Says Sony Was A One Hit Wonder?

from the well,-sure... dept

Years ago, when Apple was struggling, Michael Dell made the famous comment that Apple should just shut down. It looks like Dell's replacement, Kevin Rollins, isn't shy about making similarly demeaning comments about Apple as well. His latest is to claim that the iPod is just a fad, saying that it really only became successful in the last year (not quite true -- perhaps that's just when Dell finally realized something was happening). Still, while everyone else will focus on that Apple comment, what's even more revealing is his comparison to Sony: "When I was growing up there was a product made by Sony called the Sony Walkman--a rage, everyone had to have one. Well, you don't hear about the Walkman anymore. I believe that one-product wonders come and go. You have to have sustainable business models, sustainable strategy." Is he seriously suggesting that Sony was a "one-hit wonder" company? Besides, whether you agree with Apple's strategy or not, it seems pretty clear that they haven't banked everything on the iPod itself, but have put together a strategy that involves synergies across a variety of product lines, from their computers to the music players to the iTunes service. I'm not convinced it's the right strategy, but I'd hardly call it a one-hit wonder single product strategy either.

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  1. identicon
    dorpus, 18 Jan 2005 @ 4:37pm

    Sony does suck

    Akio Morita's company was already starting to go south in his later years. They invested vast sums of money, like $1 billion, in ESP research, but they lacked the psionic abilities to predict its inevitable failure. My family knows the executive who was responsible for that, too.

    Sony's primary strength at this point is its marketing muscle, appealing to the psychology of 18-25 year olds (a shrinking consumer segment in rich countries). They haven't come out with any interesting products in many years. They just made overpriced consumer electronics with too many buttons on it, that nobody wants.

    Sony once broke the mould of Japanese companies for being agressive, risk-taking, and innovative, but it has long turned into a groupie outfit of media-wannabe business types. Over in Japan, there's a whole generation/crowd of these media-wannabe types, who stereotypically go to work for either Sony or Dentsu (world's largest advertising agency). When I was in Tokyo a few weeks ago, Sony had rented out some expensive floor space in Ginza (ritzy shopping district) to advertise their ipod clone product, but the showroom was deserted. Down the street, ipod exhibits were booming (however long they last).

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