Maryann Tobin

Once an icon as a leader in technology, Sony Corporation is now facing its greatest challenge as it fights to survive as a company amid staggering losses in both market share and profits.

Sony has an enormous amount of diversity as a company, perhaps too much. With Sony Pictures, PlayStation, televisions, DVD players, and a range of computer products that outnumber many of it's competitors, the company may have simply grown too big to survive. Unlike Apple, which has kept its focus on iCloud technology.

The last time Sony showed a profit was in 2008, so one might ask, what has changed at Sony in the past three years?

The answer is not a simple one, but there is a pattern that appears to be apparent to consumers, yet escapes Sony executives. Sony products are expensive. And in a time when the longest and deepest recession has left deep scars on many consumers, value for the dollar may be more important than ever.

Perhaps not by coincidence, 2008 was the last year in which Sony was profitable. It was also the same year of the collapse of US financial markets, and the beginning of a foreclosure and housing market crisis that the country has still not recovered from. Few companies can thrive without a sizable chunk of the American consumer market.

During the same period of time, while Sony sales fell, Apple computer sales soared, so the bad economy argument does not paint a complete picture. However it does raise another question, which is, what did Apple do right that Sony did wrong?

"… Sony needs to focus its resources on its strengths, like its entertainment and video games units, and abandon areas, like televisions, in which it is no longer competitive," according to the New York Times.

The same could be said for other Sony products like computers and portable music players. Where the Sony Walkman was once an icon for the devices, the Apple iPod took over the spotlight.

"With its catalog of music and foundation in electronics, Sony had the tools to create a version of the iPod long before Apple introduced it in 2001." But Sony appeared to surrender to Apple.

Apple computer branding not only focuses on quality build, their innovative technology leads the electronics industry in state of the art products.

While Sony still charges a premium for their laptops, their high quality reputation has been tarnished since the height of their marketplace dominance. This might be said for much of their product line. When a consumer thinks of high quality, does Sony still come to mind?

The technology market is a crowded place. In order to been seen and heard, the product must shout as loud as its branding.

Sony could be competitive again, but not without the innovation it has been lacking since Apple began beating them at their own game.