They say bad news comes in threes, but Sony’s list of troubles seems to be getting longer.
The Japanese electronics giant, one of the most recognisable and powerful brands in the world, has revealed a security flaw in some of its products that could leave PCs vulnerable to attack by hackers.
Sony maintains the flaw is in software provided by a third party. Yet the majority of the damage will be inflicted on the Sony name and reputation.
It is the latest large-scale blip for the blue chip multi-national, which has endured successive PR crises and resulting poor sales of some of its flagship products over the last 18 months.
Problems include the recall of Sony manufactured laptop batteries, which affected millions of devices and a gaggle of other leading brands. Images of laptops bursting into flames posted on the internet did little to ease Sony’s discomfort.
Then there is the on-going PlayStation 3 debacle. The launch of what should have been a world beating new games console was seriously delayed, when it did finally hit the shops it was over-priced and the hype didn’t match the reality and then stocks ran out so that gamers were left so frustrated they wondered whether they should bother buying a PS3 at all.
All this ensured that both Microsoft and Nintendo scored impressive sales successes at the expense of Sony. Indeed, although Microsoft’s billions worth of investment paid off when its 360 console became the top seller, it is now Nintendo that is leading the way with its Wii package.
All of this would have seemed unthinkable, even 12 months ago, as Sony’s dominance of this market was apparently assured.
The battering it has taken in the games industry is now being experienced across other sectors too and this latest PR disaster will undoubtedly hit the brand even harder.
Yet there has been some good news recently. Despite the various and numerous woes, Sony’s profits for the period April – June more than doubled, mainly due to demand for Handycam video cameras and Bravia liquid crystal display (LCD) television sets.
All the same, senior executibves will be hoping thee good news starts to overtake the bad news as ssoon as possible.