PS3 could fail due to "Mercedes" positioning, says Sony boss

Stuart Dredge Gaming, MP3 players

stringer.jpgIt’s a bit early to be talking about PS3 as a possible failure, but that’s exactly what Sony’s chairman/CEO Sir Howard Stringer appears to have done, in an as-yet broadcast TV interview with US show CEO Exchange, which has been reported online.

“Wii is a wonderful device, but has a different target audience,” he said when asked about the popularity of Nintendo’s console. “If we fail, it is because we positioned PS3 as the Mercedes of the video game field. PS3 is after a different audience and it can be whatever it wants — a home server, game device, even a computer.”

If true, it seems a strange sentiment for the head of Sony to be expressing the week of the console’s European launch. Although I guess the alternative would be to utterly dismiss the question with corporate flim-flam, which would raise entirely separate questions.

Sir Stringer was also asked why Sony had let Apple steal its portable music crown with the iPod, especially as Sony was working on a device before the release of iPod. Here’s his equally candid answer:

“In 1997 we were working with IBM on electronic music distribution and could have put this out five years earlier [than iPod]. But we couldn’t get our people to understand software. And we are a music company. They saw digital media, panicked and didn’t like it.”

That explains the woeful early Sony MP3 players, which forced users to jump through numerous hoops to get their songs onto the devices. Other stuff covered in the interview: Sir Stringer is happy with Blu-ray’s performance in the war with HD DVD, and still thinks it will ultimately take over.

And he also says Apple’s on the right lines with the iPhone, in converging mobile phones and music players. Sony, of course, is pursuing a similar strategy through Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phones.

(via Digital Media Wire)

By Stuart Dredge | March 19th, 2007