"Three years ago Sony handed one of the business world's biggest fix-it jobs to Howard Stringer. He had been running Sony's U.S. operation for six years, but the choice was still unorthodox: Stringer was born in Wales, not Japan, and he wouldn't be moving to Tokyo when he took over one of Japan's most revered companies. The challenge was daunting: The electronics and entertainment giant was struggling with red ink and management paralysis. Stringer didn't profess to have the answers. "Look, I didn't know what I was doing," he says today.
For years Sony persuaded consumers to pay a premium for its gadgets by inventing them first--think Walkmans and camcorders. Today it loads them up with superior technology, which produces clearer TV pictures or tells digital cameras to shoot when the subject smiles.
Stringer's goal is to connect its devices--televisions, music players, PlayStation machines--to one another and to a new Sony network for downloading movies, TV shows, games and other digital content. Downloading goes via the PlayStation 3 console, turning it into a home computer server that can handle movie rentals as well as play games. In addition, Sony's Bravia flat-screen TVs will allow viewers to connect to the Internet and stream Hollywood hits without a set-top box or cable subscription; already the TVs can do this with YouTube and other free Internet channels. Sony will send the new Will Smith movie, Hancock, to Internet-ready Bravia TV sets in November, before it can be seen on DVD or on cable. In Stringer's vision of the future, consumers will pay Sony first for televisions and other hardware, then pay Sony again to download movies, music and TV shows. "The battle for me is the networking of these devices," he says. "I have to succeed at that."
The article goes on analysing the role of Stringer bringing back Sony from it's financial situation, how Blu-ray won, the role of the PS3, Sony's strategy for the future of HD entertainment, among other topics. 2 Pages.