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Sony Businesses Technology

Sony Entertainment Head Steps Down 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-data-breaches dept.
New submitter Mephistophocles writes "Japan Times reports today that Sony Entertainment Chief Tim Schaaf has stepped down. Schaaf's division has recently drawn the ire of users and governments alike after multiple hacks which resulted in the theft of millions of users' personal information. Schaaf joined Sony after a stint at Apple, and had ambitious plans for unifying the end-user's entertainment experience on Sony products, as well as having some big words for how to help out Sony's music division. Tim will be replaced by Andrew House, currently of Sony's Game Division. One wonders — is this a continued sign of deterioration in Sony's Entertainment house?"
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Sony Entertainment Head Steps Down

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  • They didn't take information security seriously. They allowed our data to be compromised when they had plenty of money and expertise and could have hired anyone they needed to do the most basic level of security they missed.

    Sony was in the cockpit and the plane was taking a nosedive straight to the ground. I'm glad the plane wasn't headed into any building or anything, and maybe now there is a chance to actually steer the plane back in the proper direction and avoid a much bigger disaster.

    I haven't liked So

    • by Gr8Apes (679165) on Friday November 09, 2012 @04:00PM (#41935011)

      I haven't liked Sony for years but with this move I might give Sony a second chance.

      Why give them a second chance? Has the board and entire executive arm been replaced? If not, what makes you think that those DRM hugging, root kit installing, standards breaking overcharging swine have changed their ways? They just found a scapegoat for their shrinking market share. Someone had to take the fall, and considering it's been a 5+ year dive, I guess he ran out of flunkies to blame.

      • by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Friday November 09, 2012 @05:03PM (#41935635)

        The guy is being replaced by someone from the Games Division. Surely the tinkerer suing, DRM purveying, Linux removing and just general customer fucking guys that brought us the overly expensive PS3 will do very differently at the helm of the company.

        • by Synerg1y (2169962)

          The PS3 allowed you to install linux when it first came out. People obvious abused it in bucket loads to play pirated games. When the PS3 came out, compared to the cost of a blu-ray it wasn't sooo bad. Sony doesn't publish PC games, so I can't speak on that... Overall,... I'm indifferent, these guys (Sony) have almost unlimited IT spending budgets typically, I'd blame the CIO before the CEO on what happened. There's probably some Sr. Sys Admin under there who thought s/he knew security better than they

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Actually the PS3 got hacked some time AFTER they dropped support for Linux. Any abuse came after the fact.

          • Maybe my memory of history is a little thin but the reason for the inclusion of Linux was like the PS2 before it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_for_PlayStation_2 [wikipedia.org] clasifying the PS2 as a computer to achieve tax exempt status from certain EU taxes that apply to game consoles and not computers.

            The reality is though I cannot help but think that Sony as an OEM missed a massive opportunity, to release a gaming [for educational reason of course] computer, to compete with Microsoft. The irony is Sonys "Mobile P

          • by Khyber (864651)

            " People obvious abused it in bucket loads to play pirated games."

            Actually, no. Because the hypervisor restricted RSX access so you couldn't get gaming graphic functionality except CPU-directed 2D stuff. No 3d at all.

            I don't think you have a clue what you're saying.

            • by tepples (727027)
              As I understand it, people abused Other OS to learn what the hypervisor actually did, and then they abused that to retrieve certain keys allowing circumvention of the hypervisor. Sony pulled Other OS once the public knew too much about the hypervisor.
          • by GNious (953874)

            The PS3 allowed you to install linux when it first came out. People obvious abused it in bucket loads to play pirated games. .

            Where is "-1 Painfully wrong" ?

          • by Gr8Apes (679165)
            The only reason the PS3 Blu-Ray wasn't pricey was because Sony was using it as a loss-leading pile-driver to attempt to save Blu-Ray from extinction. Yes, BD has some better features - higher capacity and the scratch resistant finish - but the capacity isn't really needed and the scratch resistant finish could easily have been used on HD-DVDs, DVDs, and CDs, making them all better. Unfortunately for us, Sony "won" the BD war, giving us scratch resistant HD discs with more elaborate (read expensive but still
    • They allowed our data to be compromised

      Yes, but more importantly, anyone who gave Sony their information allowed it to be compromised. Why would you willingly give even the most trivial of data to a company with no ethical or moral qualm towards installing rootkits on your computer as a reward for purchasing their products?

      • by ooshna (1654125)

        Because all the know about Sony is that they make big screens and that game system their kids wanted for Christmas?

    • by abigsmurf (919188)
      How long has it been and people are still posting BS about the hack? The passwords were hashed, the CC info wasn't compromised and the server was up to date at the time of the hack (there's a google cache somewhere proving the version numbers). The personal details weren't encrypted but that's the same with most sites (besides which, if your server is compromised, so is the decryption key)
      • by Synerg1y (2169962)

        GPU cracking gets at most things nowadays...

      • by elucido (870205)

        How long has it been and people are still posting BS about the hack? The passwords were hashed, the CC info wasn't compromised and the server was up to date at the time of the hack (there's a google cache somewhere proving the version numbers). The personal details weren't encrypted but that's the same with most sites (besides which, if your server is compromised, so is the decryption key)

        The passwords were hashed but not salted. That makes all the difference!

  • Now they just need to sell off their "Entertainment division" and become an electronics company again.

    • Re:Good ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:54PM (#41936951)

      I'm a Sony employee. Note that Tim Schaaf was head of Sony Network Entertainment, which is a distinct entity from the movie and music groups. Sony Pictures*, Sony Music**, and Sony Computer Entertainment (the videogames) are all direct reports to the parent. Sony Network Ent. is strictly the Playstation Network and some other stuff, mainly services that compete with iTunes/Roku/Unbox.

      The entertainment divisions are all distinct with regard to Sony Corp. There is no all-encompassing "Entertainment division."

      * (incl. Columbia Pictures, Sony Classics, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Imageworks, the distribution network, the studio, Crackle.com)

      ** (incl. Arista, RCA, Columbia, Gracenote)

      • The entertainment divisions are all distinct with regard to Sony Corp. There is no all-encompassing "Entertainment division."

        which touches on another one of sony's problems: it's like 100 different companies. there should be some collaborative advantage for Sony Division A and Sony Division B both being part of Sony, but there isn't. they might as well be completely different companies.

        • Re:Good ... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday November 09, 2012 @08:05PM (#41937629)

          which touches on another one of sony's problems: it's like 100 different companies.

          Country music albums, life insurance, Adam Sandler movies, flow cytometry machines, Wheel of Fortune, and virtual swag for your online avatar. All of these things are Sony. (Oh yeah and they make consumer electronics too.)

          You can only integrate these businesses so much -- collaboration between units has the effect of multiplying the number of managers you need, because pooling resources inevitably creates more contention and need for arbitration, and makes it more difficult to analyze who's making profitable decisions and who isn't. Think of it like the Unix principle: each businesses does one thing well, and they're connected to each other with clean interfaces. If you have two programs that parse JSON, it doesn't necessarily follow that they should share the same address space or kernel resources to do that, or even that they should use the same libraries. Similarly, a recording engineer at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles, doesn't necessarily make an engineer at Arista in Nashville redundant.

          • the power of having multiple areas of competence comes in being able to use them together to build something better. look at apple. they have a digital media store, and they have iOS devices. those two divisions sell each other. look at google. they have search and online services, and they have android. you bet that google services integrate well on android devices.

            if you just treat that other division as any other company, there's no advantage to being big. actually it probably hurts, because while those

            • Re:Good ... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday November 09, 2012 @09:36PM (#41938583)

              If Google or Apple started acquiring locomotive manufacturers, medical device companies, stock brokerages and frozen yogurt chains, this would begin to be a comparison. Sony's a conglomerate, Apple and Google are quite specialized. Also you're passing judgement on Sony's entire divisional structure based on their inability to execute a GoogleTV STB and an Android tablet, both classes of devices that every manufacturer has managed to screw up. Your complaints about the tablet could just as easily be applied to ASUS or any old KIRF.

              I'm not saying that Sony's organization actually works, but integrating Google Docs with Android is an utterly different class of problem from integrating a musical act with a movie studio, video game developer and distribution infrastructure. The one just involves some code, while the other involves people, lots and lots of people.

              If I were you I'd hold off on singing the praises of Google's synergy until we saw how the Motorola merger shook out. As it is, it looks like they simply don't know how to run the company that actually makes things, and are letting it wither, loosing billions of dollars in the process.

              • If Google or Apple started acquiring locomotive manufacturers, medical device companies, stock brokerages and frozen yogurt chains, this would begin to be a comparison. Sony's a conglomerate, Apple and Google are quite specialized.

                you don't have to look at every sony division. obviously the dog food division and the anal probe division don't need to collaborate. but i gave two perfectly good examples where the entertainment division and the divisions that make google TV and android tablets should have collaborated and failed epically for not doing so.

                Your complaints about the tablet could just as easily be applied to ASUS or any old KIRF.

                huh? obviously not, because asus doesn't own a massive music and movie and TV catalog.

                and anyway, who cares? just because some other company fails epically in the same way as sony doesn

    • by sd4f (1891894)
      Yea i agree, i think that the publishing arm of sony is sort of like the tail wagging the dog. They still can make brilliant hardware, but just from my observers point of view, it really ruined the hardware by demanding DRM and just making the devices unfriendly to users, i've time and time again just skipped sony, because i know that i'm going to get the shits with it not letting me do what i want to do.
  • by dryriver (1010635) on Friday November 09, 2012 @04:00PM (#41935013)
    ...from stealth DRM spyware on your Music CDs, to shitty closed-ecosystem type policies for PS3 is that SONY - once a "Superbrand" - is crumbling in the eyes of consumers. No big loss, really. Samsung does everything Sony once did better, and at lower prices. Maybe Samsung could be persuaded to create an Android or Linux powered game console that frees people from the inevitable "horror" that will be Playstation 4? Go on Samsung; Take that "final leap" to challenging Sony in "all things consumer electronics"...
      • The Ouya is kind of cool, and I may even purchase one when it comes up, but it looks severely under-powered and my main interest in it is as a hackable device. Do you really care about playing cell-phone games on your TV?
        • by Sir_Sri (199544)

          Sure, if you look at generally how powerful cell phones are a lot of that stuff might translate ok to TV. I always wanted the PSP family to be exactly that, a portable version of the playstation, let me take my games with me from the main machine and let me play the same stuff on the Playstation that i play on the portable version. I might play with a console or phone on my commute home, but I'm not going to sit at on my couch playing a PSP game when there's a great big TV there.

          I agree on the 'ouya being

        • The Ouya is kind of cool, and I may even purchase one when it comes up, but it looks severely under-powered and my main interest in it is as a hackable device. Do you really care about playing cell-phone games on your TV?

          Not only that, but there's a console [wikipedia.org] that is more powerful than the Ouya that launches in... 9 days. Created by an extremely well known video game company and backed by a number of major developers of the non-cell-phone game persuasion.

          Yes, it's more expensive than the Ouya, but it's also quite a bit more powerful and comes with its own touchscreen tablet that supposedly runs for 30 hours before needing a recharge.

          • And the OS is completely open and anybody can publish games for it. Oh wait, no it's not.

            I'd like to see Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 on the Wii U. :p

          • there's a console [Nintendo's Wii U] that is more powerful than the Ouya that launches in... 9 days.

            So for what platform should a company develop video games if the games are in a genre that doesn't work well with a flat sheet of glass as the only input device, but the company isn't big enough to attract the attention of Nintendo? (Before you say 2D Boy, Nintendo has since reworded its developer qualifications to rule out 2D Boy's loophole of using a coffee shop as its "secure office.")

            • So for what platform should a company develop video games if the games are in a genre that doesn't work well with a flat sheet of glass as the only input device

              The touchpad isn't the only input device for the WiiU... it's just the only one that comes with it. Incidentally, the WiiU's tablet controller also has an analog stick on it, it's just a pain to hold to use it. The WiiU also supports the WiiU Pro Controller (the one that looks like an Xbox 360 controller) and and Wii-compatible controller including the Wiimote and its addons.

              So for what platform should a company develop video games if... the company isn't big enough to attract the attention of Nintendo? (Before you say 2D Boy, Nintendo has since reworded its developer qualifications to rule out 2D Boy's loophole of using a coffee shop as its "secure office.")

              Yes, that's a legit problem here. I could answer that with "the Xbox 360" but their Indie games aren't that well promoted, plus the

              • by tepples (727027)

                major developers of the non-cell-phone game persuasion

                So for what platform should a company develop video games if the games are in a genre that doesn't work well with a flat sheet of glass as the only input device

                The touchpad isn't the only input device for the WiiU

                It is for a smartphone or tablet. I imagine some developers target smartphones because those are the only handheld devices that developers not "tall enough" for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita are allowed to target.

                I could answer that with "the Xbox 360" but their Indie games aren't that well promoted

                And not even available for sale in most countries outside the USA, I'm told.

                plus they require that you use XNA and C#.

                And requiring a specific language breaks the advantages of model-view separation, unless there's some way to translate game logic written in some other language to C#.

                The best platform for Indie games at the current point is still PC to a greater extent

                Could a PC-exclusive fighting game sell? Could a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Companies need to focus on doing one or two -- maybe even three things very well, and then do those things. Sony is like every other huge company who tries to be all things to all people: it never works. Whenever a company strays from its core competences, it never ends well.

    Nimble, scalable, and ever vigilant are the words to live by now.

  • by knapper_tech (813569) on Friday November 09, 2012 @04:03PM (#41935039)
    After Howard Stringer, the Sony-BGM DRM stooge got replaced, this is another sign that Sony is continuing to move back to nice electronics and away from the walled-garden approaches (DRM, mini-disc/beta-max?) that made Sony products acquire so much grossness brand-wise.
    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      this is another sign that Sony is continuing to move back to nice electronics

      I missed the part where Sony announced that they're going back to producing hardware that isn't complete shit.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      After Howard Stringer, the Sony-BGM DRM stooge got replaced, this is another sign that Sony is continuing to move back to nice electronics and away from the walled-garden approaches (DRM, mini-disc/beta-max?) that made Sony products acquire so much grossness brand-wise.

      Except the only division making money is Sony's entertainment division. The division that sells walled garden hardware and software, and actively promotes it to be installed on open platforms as well (Playstation for Android).

      And nevermind th

      • by tepples (727027)

        Ouya looks interesting, but it's going to suffer the same problem as other more open platforms (and yes, Apple's iOS is "more open" compared to the consoles) - it'll be filled with crap quickly as anyone and everyone makes apps hoping to get a quick buck.

        Why didn't the availability of such low-effort software destroy PC gaming?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Did anyone check him for a rootkit?

  • The glacial pace of the effect of Sony's silo-ed management style marches on. This company has been on the decline for years. Does anyone else recall Wired magazine's prediction that if Playstation 3 failed to achieve market dominance, Sony was done for? It was an article published around 2007 or so. Personally, I think Wired was correct. However, when the effects are happening so slowly, many people don't seem to see it. I disagree strongly about this being a good day for Sony.
  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday November 09, 2012 @04:49PM (#41935507) Homepage Journal

    Schaaf joined Sony after a stint at Apple... Tim will be replaced by Andrew House, currently of Sony's Game Division...

    Words of wisdom: When you refuse to fish anywhere but a sewer, all you'll ever catch are turds.

  • The customer service of their games division isn't very helpful. They owed me some SC in EQ2 and demanded a credit card to return it. I refused to hand a company with unreliable security my credit card. After MANY attempts to get them to just return the SC to my account I gave up and closed my EQ2 account. I just wont do business with them anymore. I decided not to buy a Playstation 3 over issues I've had with them and don't buy Sony electronics anymore either. They've just had too much bad press to not hav

  • I can tell you first-hand that the Japanese companies I have had exposure to do not value "up-to-date" equipment, software, policies or practices. They spend less money and maintain far older infrastructure. And let me tell you that just because it has "America" in the title doesn't make it an American company run to American standards.

    And Sony is definitely a Japanese company... it all comes from the top. After the top US defense companies were compomised, they tightened security and became a lot more p

    • by ikaruga (2725453)
      As a foreign who lives in Japan I totally agree with you. One of the reasons I'm founding my own venture while I finish my PhD is exactly what you say. Either that or I join a brand new Venture. I refuse to work for a Japanese company that older than 5 years. They have some excellent qualities such as proper manners, attention to detail, etc, but they have a huge problem which is their mental inertia and lack of flexibility. Once they found a successful business model they stick to it no matter what. Even w

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