Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
umair haque  


Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Strategic Errors

Sony to kill Aibo and Qrio.

Now, I <3 Aibo. I got one for my kid sis a couple of years ago (and soon discovered that apart from just being ultracool, it was actually a better way to get girls than either a real puppy or a kid sister, but that's another story...). So, take this with a grain of salt.

I think this is a colossally myopic error:

1) The destruction of brand authenticity. Sony is about "digital dream kids". That's summed up nearly perfectly in bleeding edge products like Aibo and Qrio. Killing them instantly devalues the coherence of this carefully chosen (and very well chosen) set of meanings.

2) Positioning blur. Sony's biggest threat is Chinese and Korean CE players. The biggest weak spot of these players isn't engineering or quality - it's marketing. That's why they're investing so heavily in branding (and making huge errors) - to begin learning about how to brand, and feed that learning back into innovation. This move converges Sony into the same position as them - strong technology, weak marketing.

3) This is the beginning of the death of a nascent competence in tomorrow's highest growth CE market - social robotics. Selling your seedcorn is usually a very bad idea.

This is a tragic move, driven by short-term pressures to maintain profitability. It would be much, much better for Sony to accept a few quarters of negative earnings - but to continue investing in innovation, break wide open entirely new markets, which it has huge first-mover and brand advantages in. This move devalues the very DNA of Sony.

-- umair // 5:13 AM // 0 comments


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