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Beating a Dead Walkman

“Rousing a Humbled Giant”

“Sony Sets Out To Recapture Its Glory, and Badly Needs a Hit”

The headlines blared off of the print edition and the online edition of the New York Times on Monday, but all I could see was the picture — a 1979 model Sony Walkman — so I knew where this piece was going.

For some reason, the Times thought it needed to bring back an old chestnut — the “Whatever happened to Sony?” story.

You know the type I’m talking about. It’s been written for the past five years, if not more. When Sony didn’t have an answer to Apple’s iPod, everyone jumped in for a few shots at the former heavyweight champ of CE.

Does Sony deserve the criticism? Sure. But at this late date a Sony profile (whose news hook was a passing reference about a “copycat design” of a new Sony Style store that looks like an Apple Store) is, well, like beating a dead Walkman.

Who doesn’t know the problems the Times regurgitated in its story? I guess the general public doesn’t know about the fall of Walkman due to Apple’s iPod, PlayStation’s problems, getting beat up by Amazon’s Kindle in e-readers, its mobile phone problems, its purchase of CBS Records and Columbia Pictures in the late 1980s, etc., etc.

Even the new stuff was old news — Sony working with Intel and Google on Google TV, the emphasis on 3D TV and Sony’s lousy financial performance in the past couple of years.

I’m no apologist for Sony, but if you are going to do a profile of the company, at least do a Google, Bing or even Yahoo search to see what has been written to death about its miscues, maybe briefly put them in context and bring some new insights — dare I say, news — about the future of the company.

Otherwise what you have is a report that would be more suited to a term paper for a college marketing class than a story for a major newspaper’s business section.