Please Don’t Let Sony Determine Our Wireless Home Networking Standards

The German magazine Die Welt has scored an exclusive interview with Howard Stringer, the CEO of Sony. Maybe you have PlayStation 3 sitting in your living room or recall that Sony won the high-definition DVD format war with its Blu-Ray technology? In this interview Stringer sets his sights higher, on the domination of home networking. He says,

I set the target, to be achieved by March 2011, of a product portfolio in which 90 percent of the devices will be capable of networking and connecting wirelessly. It’s a tall order. Our engineers have to work across all our divisions in order to develop standards. This includes the consumer electronics division as well as the film and music production units.

Looks like Sony hopes to follow in Apple’s footsteps with a proprietary standards-based home entertainment platform. Stringer also points out that Apple, with its interests in Pixar, are pursuing a hardware-plus-content strategy like Sony is, albeit on a smaller scale. However, for anyone who has had to deal with Sony’s cumbersome software, the idea of that company pursuing such a strategy is both laughable and scary. You laugh because getting stuck on Sony software (and its DRM) is so terrible, but at the same time it’s frightening because many consumers will be eager to embrace any end-to-end home networking solution. Plus, Sony does make great hardware.

Stringer also expresses his dissatisfaction with the joint venture his firm has with Ericsson. The mobile equipment company makes several platforms for use in Sony mobile devices, but Stringer is apparently unhappy with the cooperation between the two partners. He told the magazine, “It’s certainly been a difficult year, but, buying out a partner is never an easy thing.”