One of my favorite PowerPoint slides shows a picture of an iPod with a simple question under it: “Why is the number one personal music device made by a computer company?”  Up to now, the answer was pretty simple — the electronics and intellectual property sides of Sony simply couldn’t get it together.  While they were busy arguing about how to use their dominant consumer brand and distribution network to lead the craze, Apple ate their lunch.


Would it have been the digital Walkman craze as opposed to the iPod craze?  Who knows, but it would have been interesting and extremely consumer friendly – competition always is.

As everyone who follows this business already knows, Sir Howard Stringer has been made chairman and CEO.  The NY Times says that Sony gave “the triumph to the diplomat over the technocrat.”  That’s one way to look at it.  But, Sir Howard should not be sold short on the technology side.  You don’t have to be a technologist, by trade, to take Sony where it need to go.  In fact, from a consumer perspective, a techno or engineering-focused Sony would be guaranteed to fade to insignificance in today’s marketplace.

People use technology, not the other way around.  And, more importantly, companies that have won the battle for “share of mind” have obtained “share of wallet” by embracing and adapting to the lifestyles of their customers — not the other way around!

There is no way to engineer Sony out of this situation, they must be led out of it.  In choosing Stringer, it seems like the board agrees.  This is a brilliant move for Sony.  And if Sir Howard is the diplomat that many think he is, we’re finally going to get to see the full power of a unified consumer electronics and intellectual property giant at work.  It should be quite a show!

Click here to learn more about the Emmy Advanced Media Committee
Click here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter Shelly Palmer

About Shelly Palmer

Named LinkedIn’s #1 Voice in Technology for 2017, Shelly Palmer is CEO of The Palmer Group, a strategic advisory, technology solutions and business development practice focused at the nexus of media and marketing with a special emphasis on machine learning and data-driven decision-making. He is Fox 5 New York's on-air tech and digital media expert, writes a weekly column for AdAge, and is a regular commentator on CNBC and CNN. Follow @shellypalmer or visit or subscribe to our daily email

Like it? Tweet it.

"Watchout for Sony … they’re gonna get it right!" by @ShellyPalmer

Get Briefed Every Day!

Subscribe to our daily newsletter featuring current events and the top stories in technology, media, and marketing.