Sony and Google teaming up for Google TV might signal a change to television as it is known. Simultaneously, the venture is also a symptom of Sony’s shifting stance towards open source technology.
Historically, the knock on Sony has been that it has a blind allegiance to its own proprietary technology. From Betamax to ATRAC, Sony’s compression format which eventually lost out to MP3, the company often paid the price for its NIH (Not Invented Here) Syndrome, writes Daisuke Wakabayashi. If Sony’s format didn’t become the standard, early Sony adopters were left in the dark. Are there any Digital Audio Tape users out there
Recently, however, Sony has allowed SD flash memory cards on its digital and video cameras that used to only support their proprietary Memory Stick format. The company also switched its e-readers to the open-source EPUB format and Sony Ericsson adopted Google’s open-source Android platform for its first smart phone.
Now Sony is taking a big step by going open-source for its flagship product and the king of all living-room electronics: the TV, notes Wakabayashi. Part of the attitude change can be attributed to Chief Executive Howard Stringer, who as a former media executive has a more pragmatic approach to technology. In the past, Sony would often refuse to budge from its own proprietary formats because it believed its technology was superior, without factoring in more practical issues like price. Mr. Stringer has been trying to cure the company of its NIH syndrome, aware that technology is only great if people actually use it.
While Sony eventually won out with its Blu-ray HD standard, it did have multiple partners in designing the technology, including Panasonic, Samsung and Dell. When it comes to online and digital technology, though, open standards seem to be the building blocks to success.
Source: Wall Street Journal