The hedge fund manager, Daniel S. Loeb, is pressing Sony into spinning off part of its entertainment arm, which includes one of the biggest film studios in Hollywood and one of the largest music labels in the world, responsible for movies like “Skyfall” and artists like Taylor Swift.
Sony’s entry into the entertainment business was strictly to add value to its electronics business.
It never worked out that way because the entertainment tail wagged the electronics dog, insisting on DRM, regional rights, and other things that just make no sense in a digital world without borders and with the capability to do immediate, worldwide release.
Sony never got the value it expected from its entertainment division. Hardly anyone uses Sony’s digital entertainment products other than the Sony Reader Store. And Sony didn’t have to buy any publishers to do eBooks.
Aside from the Reader — in its beginnings — Sony hasn’t done anything Sony-like in electronics for a long time. When Sony had an exclusive — like OLED — it priced itself as a Tiffany product in a world that had been leveled by financial fraud to a Walmart budget.
Sony finally created an interesting Android tablet — but where is it? Delayed — and some models are again priced like a Tiffany product.
When everyone expected the iPad to be priced at $999, Jobs did it at $499. It’s difficult to imagine Sony ever making a move like that.
And that’s why the company is still in trouble.