Friday, May 23, 2008

Sir Howard: Time to Focus on the Top-Line Growth (and Innovation)

Sir Howard has achieved impressive turnaround of Sony's bottom-line position since taking over Sony. This picture from WSJ says it succinctly.

WSJ reported that at a recent management meeting, Sir Howard strongly urged the managers to be "bold" "energetic" and "imaginative."
At the management meeting, Mr. Stringer implored the audience to "not be complacent," said the people who attended the meeting. At times, he employed his trademark humor, showing a slide of a big fork sticking in the middle of a road. He told them that Sony was "at a fork in the road," in which its various units needed to step up their combined efforts further to come up with new products.

His challenge is to go beyond bottom-line efficiency. Sony is being squeezed from two ends--at the lower end, margins are squeezed by competitors such as LG and Samsung (in consumer electronics). At the high-end, he faces competition from Apple and Microsoft. Even in Hollywood, Sony Entertainment faces strong competition. The stock price comparison from the time that Sir Howard took over Sony mapped against Apple tells a compelling story.

It's time for Sir Howard to show that Sony can truly lead in one or two markets beyond winning the standards battle against HD DVD. The media and entertainment landscape is ripe for someone to claim leadership. Will it be Sony? Will it happen under Sir Howard's watch?

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