Just saw this on BoingBoing:
Sony sent a bullying shut-down notice to Retropod, a website selling hand-made iPod cases made out of recycled Sport Walkman housings.
Although it’s a different issue, this is consistent with Sony’s ongoing general attitude towards its customers, standards and proprietary technologies. I usually like Sony products: great VCRs, digital cameras, and more. But what’s with MemorySticks? They’re nothing more than Sony’s attempt at lock-in. Lower capacity and more expensive than open standard memory cards. I use MemorySticks because I have no choice, but every time I deal with one, I’m reminded of how locked in I am.
Even worse are Sony’s MiniDisk recorders. Sony doesn’t allow you to read the files digitally. You’ve got to play them back in real time through the line output and re-record on another device. Sucks.
My sense is that all of this happened when Sony acquired Columbia. When that happened, a company that was once seen as an advocate of consumer gadgets and technology began to take the wrong side of the DRM debate. Now when you buy a Sony product, it’s like buying an MP3 player from one of the major record labels.
I just bought a new Hi-MD (1 gigabyte minidisc) recorder from Sony because I need the capacity in a small device, but if there had been a more open alternative, I would have gone that route instead. Sony has finally announced it will support MP3 in some of its devices, but apparently not until next summer.
Get it together, Sony. Apple has replaced you as the company that understands the user by almost every measure. As far as I’m concerned, Apple now has an open road to lead in almost any consumer-electronics niche–peviously Sony’s opportunity.