Like Xerox, Kleenex, and Google, Sony’s Walkman was the rare brand that was so popular it became the thing itself. The Japanese electronics giant was ubiquitous in other ways, too, and there was a time when it seemed as if everyone owned a Sony device, whether it was a television, a camcorder, or a stereo. But in the iPad age, Sony seems to have all but disappeared from the marketplace for must-have gadgets.
The company is set to post a loss of $2.7 billion for the current fiscal year. It was worth $100 billion in 2000, but since then has lost 80 percent of its value. And it’s even struggling in its native Japan, where for the first time, Apple was just voted the country’s top consumer brand.
What happened? And how can its new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, turn the company around?