Sony’s next chief executive officer said Tuesday he wants to make the company “cool again.”
Howard Stringer, whose succession in June was announced Monday, said in an interview it was “a surprise but great moment” when Nobuyuki Idei, Sony’s current CEO, offered him the job during a phone call “between parties” at the Academy Awards last month in Hollywood. Stringer is currently the company’s vice executive chairman in charge of entertainment business and head of its U.S. unit.
Stringer said: “Sony is still one of the No. 1 brands in the U.S. and not in a crisis. I want to excite the great company once again as I did in the entertainment world.
“At studio we have actors and actresses and at Sony we have engineers. Both are talents.”
Stringer, a former CBS News executive, will be the first non-Japanese in charge of the Japanese electronics giant, after serving eight years there.
On why Sony failed to launch devices like rival Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod range of portable music players, Stringer said there are “vertical silos” within the company that divide resources and hinder communications between the content and electronics sectors.
“That is the lesson Steve Jobs (of Apple Computer) gave us, and he jumped over that wall,” he said.
He said there is an internal conflict between protecting the value of expensive software and selling machines that can download contents cheaply.
The Welsh-born executive cited the PlayStation Portable hand-held game machine, which also allows users to watch movies and listen to music via either the Internet or wireless communications, as part of Sony’s comeback strategy.
Sony bundles free software packages of music or movies with the PSP to boost sales.
He said the company’s software section understood and paid for PSP’s sales strategy to increase the popularity of Sony’s mainstream but struggling electronics products.
“If we do it together,” Stringer said, “we will be stronger.”
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