Sony Chairman and CEO Nobuyuki Idei has been interviewed by
AlwaysOn, and offered some insights about the future of his company. He also had some comments about Apple.
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Apple may have defined the future role of the Macintosh as the hub of the digital lifestyle, but Sony’s well positioned to bring such a vision to reality, since the company makes both PCs and consumer electronics. Sony hasn’t taken that next step yet, however and Idei offered some insight that may explain why.
“… In the consumer electronics industry, however, few people understand OS architecture, so it would be hard for any of us to compete in the operating software area,” Idei said. “Even at Sony, where we have many smart software developers, we still can’t compete with the IT industry in this area.”
The interviewer is a Mac user, and he suggested that Sony could learn a thing or two about peripheral integration, calling Jaguar and its ability to support peripherals like iPods and digital cameras “the test model” for a computer that can offer a great consumer experience. Idei then admitted that Sony “met several times” with Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 2002 “to try to work out a mutual strategy.”
“But you know Steve, he has his own agenda,” said Idei, laughing. “Although he is a genius, he doesn’t share everything with you. This is a difficult person to work with if you are a big company. We started working with them, but it is a nightmare.”
His comments were later echoed by Sony Corp. of America Chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer, who added that Sony and Apple are adversaries, not allies. He suggested that trying to get the two companies to partner together would be “a waste of time.”
It’s not all bad news when it comes to a possible collaboration between Sony and Apple. Idei compares Ken Kutaragi, the head of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. — the group that makes the PlayStation video game console — to Jobs. Noting the mutual respect between the two industry leaders, Idei added, “So maybe if we can get them both together then they could figure out how the PlayStation and the Mac can work together.”