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Sony adopts, then drops, Cocoa-like GNUStep plans to rival Apple iOS

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 
Sony unveiled plans to deliver a mobile development platform based on an open source version of Apple's OpenStep and Cocoa technologies, shortly before announcing the project was put on hold.

Sony's plans, referred to as SNAP (Sony Networked Application Platform), hoped to leverage the open source community to deliver an alternative to Apple's iOS Cocoa Touch development frameworks.

As a starting point, Sony took the existing GNUstep libraries, which originated as an implementation of OpenStep, the basis for Apple's Cocoa in Mac OS X and iOS. GNUstep uses the same Objective-C language and implements similar (but not compatibly identical) development frameworks to the Cocoa used by developers to create Mac, iPhone and iPad apps.

However, after contributing a number of touch-based interface enhancements to the open GNUstep codebase, Sony has put its plans on hold without explaining why.

NeXT and OpenStep

Sony's intention to use an open source platform to compete against Apple in the mobile device arena, rather than using an existing alternative such as the Java-based Android, JavaME, and BlackBerry OS; Microsoft's Silverlight-based Windows 7 Phone; the full Windows 7 environment (that Sony has licensed for use on PCs), or some version of Adobe's Flash Lite, Flash web plugin (championed by Google's Chrome OS), or Flash-based AIR development platform (as the upcoming RIM PlayBook does), is an interesting development given the shared history of Apple's Cocoa and GNUstep.

Prior to bringing NeXT's technology to Apple in the 1997 acquisition that returned Steve Jobs to the company he founded, NeXT created a sophisticated UNIX operating system using advanced, object oriented development frameworks that made building apps easy.

Named NeXTSTEP, the package was widely used by investment banks and security agencies to create custom apps, and was famously used to build the first web server and browser client. It was also used to develop cutting edge video games by John Carmack of id Software. Despite those successes, NeXT was unable to sell enough of its hardware in a way that could support ongoing development.

It pulled out of the computing hardware market in the early 1990s in an attempt to find a sustainable market for NeXTSTEP's advanced technology as a software product, initially selling a version of the NeXTSTEP OS that could run on PCs and Sun workstations, and eventually separating the development tools from the underlying OS to create a development layer that could run on top of systems running Windows NT or Sun's Solaris.

In a partnership with Sun, NeXT developed the OpenStep specification, which enabled any hardware maker or operating system vendor to build products capable of running applications created for the new specification. Within months however, Sun pulled out of the partnership to focus on Java, its own technology aimed and creating applications that could conceivably run on any hardware or operating system with a Java Virtual Machine.

With few prospects left for OpenStep, NeXT pursued the development of WebObjects, which essentially turned the OpenStep frameworks into a development environment for web apps. Dell used this technology to launch its very successful web store shortly before Apple acquired NeXT with the intention of resurrecting NeXTSTEP as replacement for its existing, aging Classic Mac OS.

Apple takes NeXT in a new direction

Apple initially hoped to use the platform independent work NeXT had done to deliver Yellow Box (essentially OpenStep) as a development environment for creating applications that could run on the Classic Mac OS, Windows, Solaris, and a new Unix-based OS that would eventually replace the Mac OS on Apple's own hardware.

Those plans were thwarted by a number of issues: the show-stopping difficulty of hosting the sophisticated YellowBox frameworks on top of the outdated foundations of the existing Mac System 7; the impossibility of positioning YellowBox as a credible alternative to native or Java development, given Apple's existing fragile condition as a company; and the insistence of Apple's existing developer community that the company not abandon its current Mac OS APIs in favor of this newly acquired, unfamiliar technology from NeXT.

Apple was sent back to the drawing board for years, where it hammered out a strategy that dropped cross platform compatibility to instead focus on delivering a new Mac OS X, with both support for the existing Mac OS APIs as well as a thoroughly refreshed version of OpenStep/YellowBox the company now referred to as Cocoa (in deference to the popularity of Java).

While Apple abandoned all efforts to deliver a version of Cocoa that could run on top of other operating systems, the open source community kept working on GNUstep, an implementation of the OpenStep standard NeXT had created. That project has continued to track Apple's progress with Cocoa, adding its own implementation of new technologies that Apple has added to Cocoa.

While Cocoa apps won't run unmodified on top of GNUstep, they should be much easier to port than apps created using a completely different development environment such as Java or Windows. Sony's plan to use GNUstep in its mobile devices would similarly not enable its products to use iOS apps created for the iPhone or iPad, but would offer a development platform familiar to the thousands of developers who have already embraced Cocoa Touch to target Apple's products.

Now that Apple has achieved a very strong position in smartphones, media players, and tablets with its iOS platform, it is ready to use Cocoa to deliver a unified development platform for its Mac App Store, expected to open in January. Apple's goals to push Cocoa-centric development may be assisted by any external efforts (such as Sony's) to use a related development model using the same language and similar frameworks.

It's also possible that Apple could resurrect its initial plans to offer a cross platform version of Cocoa that could be used by its existing developers to create apps for Windows, and deploy these apps using an App Store similar to its forthcoming standalone Mac App Store app.

Sony's sad story in software

Regardless of where Apple chooses to take Cocoa, Sony's interest in using GNUstep is both an endorsement of Apple's existing technology portfolio and another example of hardware makers looking with skepticism upon Google's Android. Sony already uses Android in its Xperia phones (which formerly debuted with Windows Mobile), its Google TV appliances, and its Dash "personal Internet viewer" device, but like Samsung's homegrown Bada, HP's decision to use Palm's webOS, RIM's use of QNX, and Nokia's aversion to Android, Sony's efforts to look beyond Android indicate that leading hardware makers are not ecstatic about the prospects of simply becoming commodity device makers that divert much of their value to Google's platform.

Sony has previously failed to successfully integrate third party software platforms as a licensee of the failed Palm OS (in its Clié PDAs), the BeOS (in its eVilla web browser appliance) and Windows Mobile (in its Sony Ericsson devices) and has not done well as a Windows licensee selling PCs and laptop hardware, nor as a Symbian or Google licensee in smartphones.

The company's hardware prowess initially helped Apple design its successful PowerBook line, but was unable to keep pace with the company's Walkman-devastating iPod in 2001, and has since been embarrassed by the iPhone and iPod touch, not just as rival smartphones and media players but also as gaming devices competing for attention against the PlayStation Portable. Whether Sony will completely scuttle its GNUstep experiments or pick it up again and create real products using it still remains to be seen.
post #2 of 103
Something tells me Sony doesn't have a coherent strategy. Where would they use a GNUstep-based library? And GNUstep isn't an OS, so they would still need to run it on top of another OS. I just don't see Sony following through with GNUstep, given that it's not clear where they were going with it.

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post #3 of 103
Sony does not have any competing software technologies that can fare well against iOS or macosx, they will be bound to either use windows or android on their existing hardware. They should have focused on developing a decent api to go along with their hardware instead of piggy backing off existing tech that is not much to speak about, ie windows.
post #4 of 103
...to get into the living room.

iOS on PlayStation 4. Period. Because Apple TV lacks a compelling from the sofa value proposition. And Sony, as the article rightly states, lack a consistent OS strategy.

And no matter how cool the forthcoming Sony Ericsson 'PSP' Android phone, it won't catch the iPod Touch or iPhone 5, because as soon as someone produces a killer snap on tactile controller for keyboardless mobile devices, such a gaming phone will have little reason to exist. But I bet Apple dream of a racer like GT5 on iOS!

No other company but Sony have the proven precision manufacturing skills to earn the trust of Apple.

So, Steve Jobs, in a final salute to the late Akio Morita (a hero of mine too BTW), could license iOS to Sony. And that would be almost as massive as Apple buying Sony.
post #5 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oflife View Post

...to get into the living room.

iOS on PlayStation 4. Period. Because Apple TV lacks a compelling from the sofa value proposition. And Sony, as the article rightly states, lack a consistent OS strategy.

And no matter how cool the forthcoming Sony Ericsson 'PSP' Android phone, it won't catch the iPod Touch or iPhone 5, because as soon as someone produces a killer snap on tactile controller for keyboardless mobile devices, such a gaming phone will have little reason to exist. But I bet Apple dream of a racer like GT5 on iOS!

No other company but Sony have the proven precision manufacturing skills to earn the trust of Apple.

So, Steve Jobs, in a final salute to the late Akio Morita (a hero of mine too BTW), could license iOS to Sony. And that would be almost as massive as Apple buying Sony.

sony/apple

yes sir

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post #6 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Something tells me Sony doesn't have a coherent strategy. Where would they use a GNUstep-based library? And GNUstep isn't an OS, so they would still need to run it on top of another OS. I just don't see Sony following through with GNUstep, given that it's not clear where they were going with it.

Maybe Apple and Sony should just merge. That'll show Microsoft and everyone else. Apple will get a movie studio and the PS3. Sony will get consumer devices that people actually want to buy nowadays. It would be good for the both of them.
post #7 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oflife View Post

...to get into the living room.

iOS on PlayStation 4. Period. Because Apple TV lacks a compelling from the sofa value proposition. And Sony, as the article rightly states, lack a consistent OS strategy.

And no matter how cool the forthcoming Sony Ericsson 'PSP' Android phone, it won't catch the iPod Touch or iPhone 5, because as soon as someone produces a killer snap on tactile controller for keyboardless mobile devices, such a gaming phone will have little reason to exist. But I bet Apple dream of a racer like GT5 on iOS!

No other company but Sony have the proven precision manufacturing skills to earn the trust of Apple.

So, Steve Jobs, in a final salute to the late Akio Morita (a hero of mine too BTW), could license iOS to Sony. And that would be almost as massive as Apple buying Sony.

iOS on PlayStation 4.

Interesting idea!

What CPU and GPU are used in the PlayStation 4?
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post #8 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

sony/apple

yes sir

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

Maybe Apple and Sony should just merge. That'll show Microsoft and everyone else. Apple will get a movie studio and the PS3. Sony will get consumer devices that people actually want to buy nowadays. It would be good for the both of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oflife View Post

...to get into the living room.

iOS on PlayStation 4. Period. Because Apple TV lacks a compelling from the sofa value proposition. And Sony, as the article rightly states, lack a consistent OS strategy.

And no matter how cool the forthcoming Sony Ericsson 'PSP' Android phone, it won't catch the iPod Touch or iPhone 5, because as soon as someone produces a killer snap on tactile controller for keyboardless mobile devices, such a gaming phone will have little reason to exist. But I bet Apple dream of a racer like GT5 on iOS!

No other company but Sony have the proven precision manufacturing skills to earn the trust of Apple.

So, Steve Jobs, in a final salute to the late Akio Morita (a hero of mine too BTW), could license iOS to Sony. And that would be almost as massive as Apple buying Sony.


I would love to know how that will turn out if it does happen.
post #9 of 103
it's time for Apple to just buy Sony outright with its cash horde. keep the consumer and pro lines, but then sell the media part to Disney. Sony has great engineers and some very good products. it always aimed for the premium market like Apple. but the software is always too complicated (like Nokia, dominated by the hardware guys). and the execs are stuck on what strategies worked last decade when they got rich. fire them all.

wouldn't surprise me if Jobs is meeting secretly with the old Sony owners now. Stringer has to go.
post #10 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

it's time for Apple to just buy Sony outright with its cash horde. keep the consumer and pro lines, but then sell the media part to Disney. Sony has great engineers and some very good products. it always aimed for the premium market like Apple. but the software is always too complicated (like Nokia, dominated by the hardware guys). and the execs are stuck on what strategies worked last decade when they got rich. fire them all.

wouldn't surprise me if Jobs is meeting secretly with the old Sony owners now. Stringer has to go.

No its not.

SONY is a bad investment. It's bleeding RED.
post #11 of 103
Now that mobile devices are as powerful as computers, it must be hard for any company that has not been developing a desktop OS for years and years. If they don't want to license, their only real choice is Linux or one of the free BSDs. Then just write their own touch library in C++. It wouldn't be as elegant as Cocoa/Objective-C, but it would get them off the ground.
post #12 of 103
WOW, now THAT is a VERY interesting development!!! Haven't heard much about GNUStep lately... It was an exciting idea back in the day before Cocoa and after NeXT's interest in advancing OPENSTEP for MACH waned...
post #13 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

No its not.

SONY is a bad investment. It's bleeding RED.

You are correct. Let Sony go under then Disney could buy their library of films for a song.

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post #14 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

No its not.

SONY is a bad investment. It's bleeding RED.

From what I read, Sony is over-diversified and unmanageable -- not worth buying the company.

A proper non- transferable license to run iOS on the PS has some possibilities that could benefit Apple and Sony, alike..
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post #15 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

From what I read, Sony is over-diversified and unmanageable -- not worth buying the company.

Apple will never buy Sony as a whole. Sony's consumer products range from VAIO Windows PCs to Sony Ericsson mobile phones to PS2 / PS3 / PSP game consoles and portables to Reader digital book readers to, yes, Walkman portable audio players. All of which compete directly against Apple products, and Apple is more or less kicking their butts. Apple has no reason to acquire those businesses.

So what about the Sony consumer divisions that don't compete directly against Apple? Well, let's see. There's home audio and home theater. And cameras and camcorders. And TVs. But does Apple really want to get into home audio? Unlikely. How about cameras and camcorders? Unlikely since iPhone, iPod touch (and possibly iPad soon) shoot photos and videos.

That leaves TVs. Maybe Apple could do a deal with Sony on an Internet TV that runs iOS. The Apple TV circuit board is already small enough to be put inside any big-screen HDTV. The tipping point among the Sonys and Samsungs and LGs of the world could come when Apple TV runs apps and there's an App Store that you can buy Apple TV apps from. That might be an incentive for them to add "Apple TV Inside" to their internet-connected TVs. (And, as we've seen from WebTV and now GoogleTV, web browsing on TV is a terrible idea. But that's off-topic.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

A proper non- transferable license to run iOS on the PS has some possibilities that could benefit Apple and Sony, alike..

Not really. Apple has shrunk Apple TV enough that it's no longer a "set top box." It's pretty clear that Apple wants to get manufacturers to put Apple TV inside HDTVs. Not inside a legacy gaming console like PS3. Better for Apple to do deals with as many TV manufacturers as they can, instead of taking sides in the gaming console war.

Apple, in many ways, is the new Sony. No baloney.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Sony bought Columbia Pictures Entertainment way back in 1989 so they could create content for their devices. If Apple really wanted to acquire a content creator, they could in theory buy the movie and TV business from Sony. But really, MGM is probably a better candidate since they're in Chapter 11 now, and they aren't owned by a rival consumer electronics giant. I hear the bidding for MGM reached $1.5 billion recently. Lunch money for Apple.

But would Apple really want to get into content creation? Maybe stream an Apple Channel from their North Carolina data center? I'm not sure, but that might really anger their current content partners...

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post #16 of 103
Sony would be a terrible company to acquire. If you think about it, part of the genius of Apple is that they make a lot of money off of a small number of products. They then limit the level of complexity of the supply hain by limiting the number of configurations (SKUs) they keep in stock at retailers.

Let's just limit the conversation to the United States. Apple basically makes three classes of products: Macs, iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Apple TV) and iPods (Classic, Nano and Shuffle). For Macs, they make one kind of MacBook. For the Macbook Pro line, they make two 13" models, three 15" models and one 17" model. The Mac Mini has two SKUs, regular and server. The iMac has five models. The Mac Pro has three. For iOS, the iPhone has two models of iPhone 4 and a single 3GS. The Apple TV has one SKU. The iPad had six SKUs and the iPod Touch has three. The iPod Shuffle Has five variations, the Classic has two and the Nano has a staggering 14.

All told, that's a mere 51 different things Apple could be selling in major product classes. After that that there are peripherals (two Time Machines and two Airports), a single 27" monitor and a bunch of smaller cords and cables, mice and trackpads.

What does Sony make? Do you have all afternoon? There's the TV business, the computer business, the home theater business (receivers, Blu-ray and DVD and HTIB) and consumer electronics (music players, book readers and other stuff). Don't forget the PS3 and all it entails. What about cameras? (DSLR, point and shoot, movie). Then there's the professional markets (camcorders, professional monitors, mixing boards, studio cameras...the list is endless). There's even a medical technology business. And I haven't even gotten started on Columbia Pictures (movies, TV shows, web content). They finance a 3d animation studio. I'm sure I'm missing a bunch of others but you get the idea.

Now, the fact that Sony makes a lot of things across industries isn't necessarily a bad thing. General Electric has done this successfully for decades. But many of Sony's businesses don't make that much profit, or any at all. For years, all this was being masked by a single product line, The Playstation. When the PS1 and PS2 were big business, Sony could afford to keep a lot of its lagging businesses afloat. Now that the PS3 spent years being unprofitable, the rest of Sony's woes are exposed for the world to see.

There's no way that Apple would ever want to turn that ship around.
post #17 of 103
A Sony and Apple merger should give us all polypneas* just thinking about it. There is so much wrong with that idea.

Sony has more potential than Apple did back in the late 90s to restructure and come out with something great for the future. I thought GNU was a step in the right direction, but they need to get on the ball.


* It’s an anagram of ‘Apple’ and ‘Sony’ that means rapid breathing
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post #18 of 103
Just imagine if Sony did go with GNUStep, that would be a boon for Objective-C and Cocoa. GNUStep, after all, should be source code compatible with Cocoa.

http://wiki.gnustep.org/index.php/Cocoa

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post #19 of 103
Wasn't there are rumour about Apple buying Sony? Whatever happened to that?
post #20 of 103
Apple needs to purchase PlayOn, develop a client for iOS, deliver living room gaming to AppleTV and put Sony out of its misery.
post #21 of 103
I wonder why the article didn't mention that (after the $23M in seed money put in by Steve Jobs), Sony was the first investor in NeXT Computer, Inc. (with $600M).

As for the idea of buying Sony, I think it makes a lot of sense if the plan is to spin off the parts that are useful to Apple like Sony Pictures, retain control of these spin-offs, and then divest the rest of it.
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post #22 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

You are correct. Let Sony go under then Disney could buy their library of films for a song.

Song of the South?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #23 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Apple needs to purchase PlayOn, develop a client for iOS, deliver living room gaming to AppleTV and put Sony out of its misery.

Why is everyone picking on Sony? Among consumer electronics manufacturers they're still the best. They make great computers (too bad about the OS, but still better than Dell and others). They make great TVs and home audio equipment, decent cell phones and the Playstation 3.On top of that, they have Sony Entertainment. Sure they're not Apple, but thats a pretty respectable product line up.

Suppose Apple did buy Sony? They wouldn't need the computer division, but they could probably use some of their engineers and manufacturing capability. As for cell phones, Apple could keep the Sony name on basic phone products while selling Smartphones under the iphone brand. Look for the next Playstation to run IOS and integrate well with Apple's other products. The TV and home audio lines would be a natural extension of Apple's consumer electronics lineup and the entertainment division would instantly provide major content for iTunes without having to negotiate with the producer.

I started out thinking a Sony buyout would be a bad idea, but the more I think about it, its not so bad especially if Apple can pick up Sony on the cheap.
post #24 of 103
I don't know why everyone still thinks Apple needs Sony to do anything. I said it before, all Apple has to do is make AppleTV have apps, make it a console gaming platform, and Boom! No need for Sony in the living room. Apple can sell HDTVs easy, they just use third-party panels like they do for all their other products. In which case Samsung LED-backlit panels are some of the best out there for the price, IMO... not Sony.

Look at RageHD on iPad and iPhone4. If they had an ARM 2ghz dual core, improvements to OpenGL ES/ or make it run OpenGL full, and pair it with an ATI 5000-series GPU, that would enable console-class titles as running on Xbox360, PS3, etc. I'm not saying Apple should do this, but I have to illustrate that Apple *does* *not* *need* *Sony*. They would just drag Apple down.

All that said, Sony is far from a dying failure as the article suggests... Sure they could be better and they struck out on several product initiatives. But their TVs, camcorders, cameras and Sony Ericsson, they're not exactly limping along, at least product-wise.

As for me however, once I moved from SE phones to iPhone, and Walkman CD players to iPod, and from Sony to Samsung screens, it was bye bye to them, for me. Strongly considered a PS3 but the graphics are horrible compared to what my fairly budget gaming PC can do, let alone what the Xbox360 can do. And Vaio was always unnecessary given you could get a Mac for the same price range.
post #25 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

Just imagine if Sony did go with GNUStep, that would be a boon for Objective-C and Cocoa. GNUStep, after all, should be source code compatible with Cocoa.

http://wiki.gnustep.org/index.php/Cocoa

Perhaps. But Sony has no footprint in developing programming APIs. I just don't see them writing software.

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post #26 of 103
The article below discusses some of the "poison pill" like reasons...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10...e_buying_sony/

Time will tell.
post #27 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryand View Post

Why is everyone picking on Sony? Among consumer electronics manufacturers they're still the best. They make great computers (too bad about the OS, but still better than Dell and others). They make great TVs and home audio equipment, decent cell phones and the Playstation 3.On top of that, they have Sony Entertainment. Sure they're not Apple, but thats a pretty respectable product line up.

Suppose Apple did buy Sony? They wouldn't need the computer division, but they could probably use some of their engineers and manufacturing capability. As for cell phones, Apple could keep the Sony name on basic phone products while selling Smartphones under the iphone brand. Look for the next Playstation to run IOS and integrate well with Apple's other products. The TV and home audio lines would be a natural extension of Apple's consumer electronics lineup and the entertainment division would instantly provide major content for iTunes without having to negotiate with the producer.

I started out thinking a Sony buyout would be a bad idea, but the more I think about it, its not so bad especially if Apple can pick up Sony on the cheap.

Sony squandered their lead in televisions, portable music, e-readers, et al. They allowed their engineers to feature bloat a seemingness endless, confusing and undifferentiated army of gadgets, with more buttons and functionality than anyone sane person could ever use. I doubt even Sony knows exactly what they make, or how many, or why.

Their cell phone business is mediocre and requires a partnership to even function, their home audio offerings are nothing special, cameras and camcorders are overshadowed by Canon and Panasonic. They had many years of dreadful quality control and worse customer service. They clung to premium pricing in markets where they weren't offing premium experiences, long after they'd managed to kill market share. They have a few nice laptops, the Bravia line has restored a bit of luster to the TV division (while doing nothing to unseat Samsung as the market leader), and the Playstation is what it is. But that's pretty much it for what was once the uncontested kind of consumer electronics. They have an excellent pro division, but that's an entirely different company for all intents and purposes.

They completely blew it, in short, and today, despite repeated efforts to bring some order to their house, remain a messy sprawl of competing interests and products. How many different ear buds and headphones does Sony make? 30? 100? A million? I'll give you a hint: they have 10 categories of headphone, each of which has on average of 6 subcategories, of which there are typically 4-6 models, each of which come in 3-4 colors. That's the very definition of unfocused sprawl, and it's killed the company.

Sony would be possibly the worst acquisition I could imagine. It would be like buying a city, in the hopes that you could send in a team and salvage some decent real estate or manufacturing capacity and burn the rest to make way for new development.
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post #28 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Song of the South?

Don't throw me in that briar patch!

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post #29 of 103
GNUstep is in discussion to change their name as it no longer remotely anchors itself to the original OPENSTEP Specification.

They are focused on Cocoa but then again they aren't remotely there yet. Now if Cocotron and whatever they call it [not GNUstep] merge their source, clean it up and make it compatible to build Cocoa apps cleanly in this new environment [100% compatible run-times] then I can see SONY wanting to work with them again.
post #30 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Sony squandered their lead in televisions, portable music, e-readers, et al. They allowed their engineers to feature bloat a seemingness endless, confusing and undifferentiated army of gadgets, with more buttons and functionality than anyone sane person could ever use. I doubt even Sony knows exactly what they make, or how many, or why.

Their cell phone business is mediocre and requires a partnership to even function, their home audio offerings are nothing special, cameras and camcorders are overshadowed by Canon and Panasonic. They had many years of dreadful quality control and worse customer service. They clung to premium pricing in markets where they weren't offing premium experiences, long after they'd managed to kill market share. They have a few nice laptops, the Bravia line has restored a bit of luster to the TV division (while doing nothing to unseat Samsung as the market leader), and the Playstation is what it is. But that's pretty much it for what was once the uncontested kind of consumer electronics. They have an excellent pro division, but that's an entirely different company for all intents and purposes.

They completely blew it, in short, and today, despite repeated efforts to bring some order to their house, remain a messy sprawl of competing interests and products. How many different ear buds and headphones does Sony make? 30? 100? A million? I'll give you a hint: they have 10 categories of headphone, each of which has on average of 6 subcategories, of which there are typically 4-6 models, each of which come in 3-4 colors. That's the very definition of unfocused sprawl, and it's killed the company.

Sony would be possibly the worst acquisition I could imagine. It would be like buying a city, in the hopes that you could send in a team and salvage some decent real estate or manufacturing capacity and burn the rest to make way for new development.

I agree! If Apple were to buy Sony, they would have to sell off nearly everything -- to what end?

What does intrigue me, however, is the possibility of licensing iOS to Sony for the PS and TVs.

It would have to be a non-transferable license, and Apple would need the option of first refusal to buy any technology using iOS, developed by Sony.

Given an appropriate license agreement, both companies could benefit.

A few years back, when Apple was still using IBM PPC, there was all this speculation that Apple would migrate Mac OS X to the IBM Cell architecture.

One of the advantages of the Cell architecture was that Cell chips could be combined to deliver a virtually unlimited number of CPU processing cores and GPU processing cores (using today's terminology). The primary disadvantage to the Cell architecture was the difficulty of parallel programming.

There have been a lot of changes since then. Apple has developed OpenCL, XBox uses PPC...

I wonder if, maybe, the time has come to use something like the Cell architecture in general-purpose devices.

I certainly am not expert enough to know -- but there was a demo I saw on the web (I can't remember where) that showed an app on an iPhone. One version used the CPU -- the second used the CPU and GPU and ran more than twice as fast.

I don't know if Sony is using the Cell architecture in the PS4.


But the possibility of:
-- a {potentially} killer game console (Sony PS)
-- a killer TV content manager/streamer (AppleTV)
-- killer TVs (Bravia)
-- killer iDevices (iPad,iPhone, Touch)
-- killer SDK (XCode)
-- killer store & ecosystem (iTunes)

all working together and speaking a lingua franca has great appeal...

... maybe I'm just dreaming!
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
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"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
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post #31 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

it's time for Apple to just buy Sony outright with its cash horde. keep the consumer and pro lines, but then sell the media part to Disney. Sony has great engineers and some very good products. it always aimed for the premium market like Apple. but the software is always too complicated (like Nokia, dominated by the hardware guys). and the execs are stuck on what strategies worked last decade when they got rich. fire them all.

wouldn't surprise me if Jobs is meeting secretly with the old Sony owners now. Stringer has to go.

You are all idiots that don't know what you are talking about. Sony is dead. Apple is the new Sony. Steve Jobs won't waste billions to buy Sony. All of you are Sony fanboys. I doubt any of you are Apple shareholders.
post #32 of 103
If Apple were to buy Sony, what would they do with it?
1. Start selling Apple as well as Sony products in all Sony stores. Some might be converted to Apple stores.
2. Spin off Sony Pictures, with Jobs personally buying enough shares to elect one board member, Apple retaining enough shares to elect one board member, and the rest publicly traded.
3. Shut down all the divisions making products that compete with Apple, such as Viao. Keep any design teams that are useful.
4. Divest all the un-related businesses owned by Sony, such as the bank.
5. Make all remaining products Apple compatible e.g. Sony TVs and stereos would support AirPlay, Sony printers would support AirPrint, etc.
6. When Sony has been pared down to just the divisions which design, build, and sell products that do not compete with Apple, take it public and divest.
Mac user since August 1983.
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post #33 of 103
For one what would they get of value? PLayStation is a dying platformalong with the interest in Cell. Their consummer electronics line is crap. They name SONY doesn't have the attractiveness in consummer space it once had, in fact I'm not even sure it is associated with quality anymore. The pro lines aren't to bad but I don't see them fitting into Apples line up.

On top of all of the above a big issue is executive time. Time is worth a lot of money and frankly Apple doesn't have the management chops to apply to cleaning up SONY.

At one time I considered the idea of Apple buying Tektronix as iOS would be perfect for individual instruments in Teks line up. Imagine a oscilloscope or a signal generator built on top of iOS. Tek would give Apple another way to the pockets of the A/V pros without the trouble of SONYs massive antiquated product line up.
post #34 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

For one what would they get of value? PLayStation is a dying platformalong with the interest in Cell. Their consummer electronics line is crap. They name SONY doesn't have the attractiveness in consummer space it once had, in fact I'm not even sure it is associated with quality anymore. The pro lines aren't to bad but I don't see them fitting into Apples line up.

On top of all of the above a big issue is executive time. Time is worth a lot of money and frankly Apple doesn't have the management chops to apply to cleaning up SONY.

At one time I considered the idea of Apple buying Tektronix as iOS would be perfect for individual instruments in Teks line up. Imagine a oscilloscope or a signal generator built on top of iOS. Tek would give Apple another way to the pockets of the A/V pros without the trouble of SONYs massive antiquated product line up.

Actually, Apple does have the management chops to turn Sony around. Steve Jobs does " focused vision" better than any CEO and Tim Cook is the best operations/supply chain guy working today. When history books are written about Apple, you must spend a lot of time on how Tim Cook completely made over the morass that was Apple's ops business. He shuttered factories, negotiated new deals and got their supply chain under control inside of 18 months. Remember when Apple was famous for promising a new product but not being able to ship it for weeks or months? I do. Apple is no longer that company, white iPhone not withstanding.

Turning a company who was one quarter away from bankruptcy into the second most valued company on earth in 15 years is a ridiculous achievement in anyone's book.

Regardless, buying Sony is still a huge mistake. Unless there is a huge pot of gold waiting to be unlocked from that organization, most of Sony's divisions make too little on margin to be worth Apple's while. It's all about making money.
post #35 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

If Apple were to buy Sony, what would they do with it?
1. Start selling Apple as well as Sony products in all Sony stores. Some might be converted to Apple stores.
2. Spin off Sony Pictures, with Jobs personally buying enough shares to elect one board member, Apple retaining enough shares to elect one board member, and the rest publicly traded.
3. Shut down all the divisions making products that compete with Apple, such as Viao. Keep any design teams that are useful.
4. Divest all the un-related businesses owned by Sony, such as the bank.
5. Make all remaining products Apple compatible e.g. Sony TVs and stereos would support AirPlay, Sony printers would support AirPrint, etc.
6. When Sony has been pared down to just the divisions which design, build, and sell products that do not compete with Apple, take it public and divest.

great points, but japan politically would rather keep a morass of a company "sony" then let it dwindle to a side line of an american company, wouldn't the govt have to approve, and the way japan invests as a huge daisy chain of incestuousness it won't happen, apple better to nibble at its edges
the pictures and game division, and land holdings could help apple everything else is smulch

sony has become the poster child of japan's troubles
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post #36 of 103
Apple isn't buying Sony.

Sony don't just have competing products they have competing technologies. Apple isn't going to buy Sony and show them how to make better Windows notebooks and Android phones. The PS3 is an indirect competitor to the ATV. Why would Apple want to see it succeed?

If I were running Sony I'd try to negotiate a partnership with MS to become a premium MS vendor. There is still some cache to the Sony name but its lost a lot of its luster. I'd even drop the PS3 if needed to work closely with MS. MS needs a partner to help tie all the MS products together and Sony needs people who know how to write SW.
post #37 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

Sony don't just have competing products they have competing technologies. Apple isn't going to buy Sony and show them how to make better Windows notebooks and Android phones. The PS3 is an indirect competitor to the ATV. Why would Apple want to see it succeed?

Because they wouldn't. If Apple bought Sony, every single division would be shut down. The people would be kept, the base tech would be kept (panels, sensors, etc.), but none of the products would ever be made again.

Steve Jobs would personally set alight a massive pile of Memory Stick (pro, duo, xl, and the rest of the blasphemously stupid names) and dance around them.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #38 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Because they wouldn't. If Apple bought Sony, every single division would be shut down. The people would be kept, the base tech would be kept (panels, sensors, etc.), but none of the products would ever be made again.

Steve Jobs would personally set alight a massive pile of Memory Stick (pro, duo, xl, and the rest of the blasphemously stupid names) and dance around them.

Get rid of products, but keep people? You don't know much about corporate mergers.
post #39 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by IronTed View Post

You are all idiots that don't know what you are talking about. Sony is dead. Apple is the new Sony. Steve Jobs won't waste billions to buy Sony. All of you are Sony fanboys. I doubt any of you are Apple shareholders.

Don't hold back your feelings, tell it like it is ...

Just a small point ... In all the negatives about Sony I see no mention of the Sony Professional Division. They have been one of, if not the mainstay of TV production for decades.

This is where I get my toys that are not Apple

http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/home.do
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #40 of 103
I'd rather see Apple buy Joyent and either resurrect the Xserve or partner with Oracle to allow Mac OS X server to run on Oracle Sun Fire servers. Sony needs to restructure to get back in shape.

Their attempt to take advantage of GNUStep seems to be a trend with hardware manufacturers trying to go vertical like Apple. RIM made a very smart choice by going with QNX (really advanced OS kernel with a lot of potential for the future). HP has WebOS.
I can also see Nokia going with their own OS (they will scrap Symbian) unless their new CEO's past ties with M$ has major influence and they go with Win7. Android will fragment just like Linux regardless of Google's efforts.

Should be interesting to watch!

http://www.savethexserve.com


Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

A Sony and Apple merger should give us all polypneas* just thinking about it. There is so much wrong with that idea.

Sony has more potential than Apple did back in the late 90s to restructure and come out with something great for the future. I thought GNU was a step in the right direction, but they need to get on the ball.


* Its an anagram of Apple and Sony that means rapid breathing
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