At the ongoing D: All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, California, Sony CEO Howard Stringer painted his company as not yet out of its market troubles, but on track.
"We're coming along, I think," he said in an onstage Q&A at the event. "Culturally, the word 'profit' is not high on anybody's agenda in Japan, and we've turned that around. We closed our 5 percent margins... There's a sort of sense of, we're climbing up the mountain. We're nowhere near the top, but we're halfway up... The level of competence is growing, which is the main thing."
Stringer has frequently stated that one of his primary goals for Sony is to reach a 5 percent operatin profit margin. His demeanor, during the conference's interview with The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, was confident but humble.
According to a paidContent.org report
, Stringer admitted the PlayStation 3 was "sort of on life support before," but has improved considerably, in large part because of features such as Blu-ray and PlayStation Network, which expand the machine's capabilities beyond gaming. PlayStation Network recently reached the five million subscriber mark.
Stringer suggested that Blu-ray and PS3 have a symbiotic relationship, with PS3 being a prime catalyst for Blu-ray's dominance over HD DVD, and Blu-ray being a large incentive for consumers to purchase a PS3. Despite his own company investing in digital distribution, he does not see optical media being supplanted in the near future - he expects Blu-ray to last at least a decade.
In response to a question about how Sony tries to competes in so many different areas of consumer technology, Stringer admitted it is a challenge. Said the exec, "We're a giant department store competing with many companies that are really skillful boutiques."