At 69, Sir Howard Stringer’s time as CEO of the unwieldy electronics giant is running out. Can he and heir apparent Kazuo Hirai turn it around?
In retrospect, the PlayStation system, with its elegant blending of hardware and software, might have provided Sony an early platform for competing with Apple’s iTunes. Stringer himself called Kutaragi “the epitome of convergence,” and Kutaragi said he had aspired to create “a fusion of computers and entertainment.” But he cordoned the business off from other parts of Sony, mostly ignoring entreaties from executives at other units who wanted to work with his talented engineers. Kutaragi cultivated a renegade image within the company, telling BusinessWeek in 1999 that Sony suffers from “big-company disease.” The bosses tolerated him until the troubled launch of PlayStation 3.