Once again, it should be about the customer...

While many people tout the success of the iPod, the PlayStation, and other "platforms", it is amazing to see how many companies miss the point -- that it is supposed to be about providing complete solutions for what customers need.

It seems that Sony has missed the mark once again with the PlayStation Portable. I watched them miss with the Mini Disks, which were a superior technology to the Walkman and cassette tapes, but where Sony failed to realize that the Mini Disk should be a computer peripheral rather than a stand-alone entertainment box.

I have yet to try a PlayStation Portable, but Stephen Wildstrom at BusinessWeek provides great insights into the missed functionality and proprietary fences that Sony has built around this product.

They have created a Universal Media Disk (UMD) that are pre-recorded only, are expensive, and lack a support network of titles and inexpensive rentals. They have a limited form of WiFi but prohibit streaming music and video. They failed to allow easy synchronization for song loading. And they support only two music formats -- MP3 and their own ATRAC.
We all need to learn from the successes and failures of others. Sony would be wise to buy Apple, just to get Steve Jobs and his team to show Sony how to create a new product sensation and break down traditional barriers.