Great hardware, shame about everything else. Guess who!

walkmanhome.jpg Photo: Polapix Be sure to catch Gizmodo's series on the decline of Sony. It highlights--among other things--why very good isn't good enough when you have excellent competitors. Its problems are legion. Aside from the well-understood structural and balance-sheet woes, Sony sells countless nearly-identical products with forgettable names, trading on its coolness in lieu of a vision for what customers might want to do with their high-tech toys. Joel Johnson's anchoring feature, How Sony Lost its Way, sums it up, especially his quip about the company's inevitable response to Apple's iPad: "I am sighing preemptively for the beautiful black slate that Sony will release in 2011, then never upgrade again." The best piece, however, is his story about the two brothers who established the company--and the engineer-dominated "silos" that have become such a deadly liability to it.