Newly appointed president Nobuyuki Idei is wasting no time making his presence felt at Sony Corp and has outlined plans to establish the firm in PCs, Internet gaming hardware and as a developer and distributor of software. Eleven months after leaping over 14 senior executives to get the job once held by Akio Morita and […]
Newly appointed president Nobuyuki Idei is wasting no time making his presence felt at Sony Corp and has outlined plans to establish the firm in PCs, Internet gaming hardware and as a developer and distributor of software. Eleven months after leaping over 14 senior executives to get the job once held by Akio Morita and current chairman Norio Ohga, Idei has shaken up the corporate flow chart and broken with tradition to publicly rebuke managers who contradict his vision of Sony’s future. In an interview with Nikkei Weekly, Idei spoke of his desire to take Sony into competition with the computer makers. Following Idei’s agreement with Intel Corp chief Andy Grove to discuss future directions on research and development, the company intends to push its audio-visual experience far into the computer industry. Idei’s plans include a possible deal with Apple Computer Inc, although an acquisition was not on the cards: We don’t have enough money to do so now, particularly because we are under the financial burden of maintaining Sony Pictures Entertainment. Sony hopes to improve its 8 to 2 ratio of hardware to software/content and Idei sees the 1989 acquisition of Columbia Pictures, with its making and distribution of movies and television programming, as a key to Sony’s involvement in the computing industry. Once, the only significant forces in consumer electronics were the audio-visual giants such as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, Philips NV and Sony, he said, followed more recently by Korean players such as Samsung Electronics Co and Goldstar Co Ltd. Now, personal computer makers have increasing influence in this area. You now can watch movies on your PC, and you can play compact disks on it as well, he said. It increasingly doesn’t make business sense for us not to sell PCs when so many Sony-made displays are used in PCs with other companies’ names. Making computers will not be without its tasks, he said. In mature product divisions, such as those for audiovisual goods, one has to forecast demand six months ahead to determine production levels now. But the computer division has to produce products almost on demand, he said, admitting that US and Taiwanese companies stole a march on Sony by being able to make decisions more quickly: With their awful speed of decision- making, Japan’s computer builders lag utterly behind. If the Japanese are a weekly magazine, then Compaq and Acre are news wire services. Sony also plans to bring together the traditional east-west separation of hardware manufacture in Japan and entertainments in the US, having experienced increasing difficulty in keeping the two apart. Idei plans to improve hardware development in the US and software development in Japan, assuming a change in the management structure to accommodate the links between the two units.