Corante

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Donna Wentworth
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Ernest Miller
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Elizabeth Rader
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Jason Schultz
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Wendy Seltzer
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Aaron Swartz
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Alan Wexelblat
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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

What Does "Copyfight" Mean?

Copyfight, the Solo Years: April 2002-March 2004

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Copyfight

« Fair Use Gets Fair Play on Capitol Hill | Main | Trifecta: Legal P2P? »

May 11, 2004

Sony Electronic's Sad, Preventable Decline

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Reviewers from the Washington Post (reg. req.) (Sony's Connect Music Service Offers Fair Pricing, Little Else) and New York Times (reg. req.) (From Sony, the Hits and Misses), among others, have given poor marks to Sony's music download service, Connect.

Now, various copyfighters (not officially associated with this blog), are dissecting how Sony's DRM-centric view is crippling Sony Electronics. Joe Gratz starts the discussion by savaging Sony's late entry into the portable digital music player market (Sony’s Missteps). Derek Slater gets physically ill contemplating Sony's foolishness (Sony Music-Tech Makes Me Wanna Retch). Be sure to read his prescient preview of Sony's Connect (Sony to Continue Self-Defeating Music Strategy). Cory Doctorow provides a very good summary of the arguments on BoingBoing (Sony's entertainment business is killing its electronics business):

Sony's acquisition of a couple of minor entertainment companies has had untold consequences. It's a poison pill that is killing Sony, one piece at a time.

They're right.

UPDATE A fine rant, focusing on the fact that Sony's device won't play MP3s, is over at the Digital Music Weblog (Sony Gets Stupider). See also, Gizmodo (Sony VAIO Pocket: Interface Movie and ATRAC Weirdness).

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Abuse


COMMENTS

1. cypherpunk on May 11, 2004 7:24 PM writes...

I probably won't be signing up with Connect, but this criticism is overdone. Most of the complaints about the service relate to a clumsy (and fixable) UI, but the basic functionality doesn't sound bad:

"You can listen to a 30-second sample of a song, download a song for $1 or download an entire album for $10. At that point, you can burn your music onto CD's, transfer them to Sony portable players or copy them onto a couple of other Windows computers. They're copy-protected so generously that only dedicated eye-patched music pirates would object."

Plus you can download the same song onto a second computer without paying again, which nobody else will let you do. Yes, the store only sells in ATRAC format, but that's no worse than what Apple does.

As for the new gadget, the Vaio Pocket, again the main concern is that it only plays the ATRAC format internally. But the software will convert MP3 and WMA files, so this limitation may not be noticeable (depending on how it is implemented). Sony has supposedly shipped 80 million Minidisc players, mostly in Japan, which use the same format. The new device is only for sale in Japan, where Sony has been very successful.

Contrary to the claims in the headline, I don't see any reason why Sony's new service (after a UI tuneup) and new device won't continue this tradition of success. The Japanese people will probably prefer to buy Japanese-styled technology over Windows or Apple.

Permalink to Comment

2. Fred on May 11, 2004 8:17 PM writes...

> But the software will convert MP3 and WMA files, so this limitation may not be noticeable (depending on how it is implemented).

Either the software keeps a copy of all your MP3s in ATRAC format on your harddrive, or it has to transcode your MP3s every time you sync with your portable player.

Either way, it's noticable. Very noticable.

Permalink to Comment

3. awat on June 5, 2004 6:35 PM writes...

"Meanwhile, Sony Computer Entertainment America is ramping up shipments of the PS2 network adapter, with one million expected to ship by March 31st 2003." (Excerpt from Sony story on why the Play Station 2 has dropped in cost.) Down $50 US, and surrendered quality. Numerous Disk Read Errors after several months of normal use. Is out sourcing the problem? No, poor workmanship yes, poor quality control? Yes. Poor materials used in the manufacturing process? Yes. What type of customer service reponse. That will be seen and soon. 2 (PS2) is now being produced in China and whether this is the reason for the decline in quality is going to be seen in the future.

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