News.com has an interesting article on how Sony tried -- and failed -- to compete with Apple Computer with its Connect online music service. The article points to the well documented communications and operational problems at Sony as being mostly to blame. One executive leading the project, Phil Wiser, is reportedly leaving the company for a small digital entertainment firm.
Past and present insiders at Sony say Apple's meteoric rise in music has left top Sony executives with both respect and envy for Apple's products, even while they resist becoming dependent on Microsoft's digital music technology.
Communications had broken down so badly, the article said, that a Sony team in Japan had to serve as a buffer between Sony programmers and Kinoma, an outside company involved with the project.
Early reviews that were harshly critical of Connect didn't help either.
New York Times: "It's an easy-to-use but, in its debut version, almost embarrassingly crude imitation of the music services that preceded it."
Washington Post: "An embarrassment"
USA Today: "Not only does Sony's service pale next to iTunes, but it doesn't advance the state of the art compared with other online record shops."