Sony’s Stringer: Digital Content A Priority; Staying On Through Transition; Economy Okay

Sony (NYSE: SNE) CEO Howard Stringer says his company is transitioning from being hardware-focused to an emphasis on content and platforms. Among the company’s initiatives: expanding its PlayStation Network beyond a service for games. Eventually it will distribute a range of content, such as movies and music to a variety of devices (perhaps even ones not made by Sony), including mobile phones. Rumors to this effect have floated in the past, but these latest comments are concrete, even if the full details are yet to come. At a Tokyo press conference, Stringer quashed rumors that he may step aside before the turnaround is complete, promising to stay on for the next three years. Though Stringer and Sony have taken a lot of flak over the pace of the company’s turnaround, it’s now enjoying an upswing on news of stronger PS3 sales, the sale of underperforming assets and a major investment from Dubai. Also, in the short-term, notes AP, the company says that it’s yet to experience negative effects from the US economy. Said one analyst at KBC Securities (via Guardian): “Things do look a lot better than they did 12 months ago… My feeling is that they will continue to have a better time of it, but there is still a mountain to climb.”

FT: Stringer: “Over the next two years we will find ourselves in competition with Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Microsoft… If we can connect the dots we have a great advantage over consumer electronics rivals and some advantage over Apple and Microsoft.