Sony CEO Howard Stringer reaffirmed the consumer electronics giant’s decision to focus on networked gadgets while discussing its restructuring at a shareholders’ meeting held today, according to Reuters. Stringer said the company would lay off 16,000 workers and close eight of its 57 manufacturing sites as part of an attempt to reduce spending by $3 billion. However even as Sony is making cuts, it’s still planning to add wireless connectivity to its devices. Reuters quotes Stringer as saying:
“In the 20th century, this company created great champion products … In the 21st century, other companies took our hardware like the Walkman and added network capability and turned it into the iPod,” Stringer said.”We are not going to be beaten again in the network age.”
Stringer is recognizing the truth that all tech companies need to embrace, that mobility and connectivity are changing what consumers can do with devices and subsequently, what they expect from them. Intel gets it, which is why it built its line of low-power Atom chips to power connected mobile gadgets. Microsoft is lagging, as it waffles on what to charge for Windows on netbooks, and decides not to port Windows 7 to ARM chips that may beat out Intel for powering mobile computers.
Sony still needs to get its act together. Last August, Stringer set forth the goal of having 90 percent of Sony’s CE devices network-enabled, and said engineers were working to develop standards across the company. At the time I questioned why Sony would be building its own standards when there are currently a plethora of wireless home networking efforts already. But it’s a step in the right direction, and one every tech company, not just Sony, needs to take.