Sony’s (Dis)Connect

This week’s New Yorker profiles Stringer and his task at Sony (not available online). This article suggests it’s not going great: Sony Failing to Connect in Online Music Marketpdf

Sony Corp. marked the launch of its online music store two years ago by hiring Sheryl Crow to belt out songs in the aisle of a jet at 30,000 feet.

The store, called Connect, has lost altitude ever since and the Sony executive who was at the controls, Phil Wiser, is bailing out as Connect limps along with less than 3% of the digital music market.

Wiser’s planned departure Friday underscores the challenges facing the company that invented the Walkman as it struggles to regain its former prestige and prominence in a digital world.

“The challenge isn’t so much [Wiser’s] departure, but it underscores the fact that Sony Connect has really failed to take the world by storm — or even a little drizzle,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research.

[…] Connect was beset by a series of problems, starting with its pairing with the MiniDisc player, which, although popular in Asia and Europe, never caught on with American consumers.

The service was further hamstrung because it supported Sony’s proprietary music format, and its anti-piracy software. Those earlier devices couldn’t play unprotected music files known as MP3s. Newer devices support unprotected music and play songs in Microsoft’s Windows Media format.