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Stupid Missteps: Sony Is The New Legion of Doom

Jewish Christmas has come early this year! Why? Because it looks like Sony is going to lose about $630 million in the fourth quarter.

So? Why am I as smug as Dick Cheney after he’s earned millions of dollars selling his memoir, Lying Liar and the Lies I Lied? ‘Cause nothing satisfies like a karmic slapdown of a bumbling, corporate brute. (Well, it’s more satisfying than the “fiscal quarter characterized by stagnant sales and skyrocketing costs” of a bumbling, corporate brute, anyway.)

Listen, I’m no furry, hemp-weaving, space-cadet of a hippie, railing against the evils of Big Corporate America. (Though, there are a few. Evils, that is.) I’m just a guy who savors the moment when the Joker–after doing his damnedest to wreak havoc on the fair(ish) citizens of Gotham–finally gets his comeuppance at Batman’s hands. That is, I’m just a guy who appreciates the moment of justice when a villain has to pay the price for his misdeeds.

And for Sony, there have certainly been a few misdeeds. Enough misdeeds so that I (probably) won’t exhaust my thimble-full of creative juices likening several of the company’s recent actions to the villains of the Legion of Doom.


Lex Luthor doesn’t have any fancy superpowers. (That is, of course, unless you count his ability to keep his raging homoerotic fixation with Superman in the closet.) No, Luther gathers power via his deep pockets, insidious cunning, and political bullying. In fact, did you know that he even becomes U.S. President in the DC comic books?

(Gosh, wouldn’t that be terrible if some corrupt, self-serving villain had his finger on the Button? Ahem. Ok, I’m done. For now.)

Sony brandished its Luthor-sized balls and arrogance today when it invited Toshiba and Microsoft–two linchpin supporters of the HD-DVD format–to join the Blu-Ray Disc Association.

That’d be like JFK calling Khrushchev on the hotline and saying, “Hey, I was wondering if maybe you wanted to buy a dinner at this Democratic fundraiser we’re having next week? I hear it’s supposed to be lamb chops, so you’ll definitely want to be there. I know you’ve got this whole communism thing going, but you weren’t serious about that, were you?”


Grodd has immense power and brilliance. And what often happens when you mix those two things? You get a megalomaniacal asshole that no one (even other supervillains) really likes that much, that’s what.

Witness the PS3. Its Cell processor probably has enough computing power to instantly calculate how quickly–to the zillionth of a second–Lindsay Lohan will relapse once she gets a whiff of booze. Ok, maybe that’s not an impressive calculation, but you get the idea.

Unfortunately, the PS3 is a bit too smart and powerful for its own good, because developers are turned off by its complexity. What’s the point of being the biggest, smartest supervillain if you can’t even get your minions to carry out your dastardly plans?


You remember Bizarro. He’s the not-quite-right-at-all doppelganger of Superman. Like a photocopy of a photocopy of a… about ten times over. Same powers and abilities, but in a second-rate package.

Sony has practically built a business model based on Bizarro. First, Sony released the Connect online music store. “Oh,” Sony thought, “This is a cinch! We don’t have to broker licensing deals because we can sell music from our own library at BMG!” But then it realized that it wasn’t Apple, and couldn’t get away with selling music in a DRM-protected, proprietary format that wouldn’t play on iPods. So, scratch Connect.

Then, in Japan it created a “YouTube killer” [insert coughing fit here] in the form of EyeVio. [More coughing.]

Now, it’s threatened to introduce a movie-and-TV-show downloading service. “Oh,” Sony is thinking. “This is a cinch! We don’t have to broker licensing deals with other studios because we can sell content from our own library!” And here’s a preview of what happens next: Sony realizes that it’s not Apple.


Brainiac is the Borg of the DC comics universe. He can subjugate and assimilate any computer or electronic device to increase his own power and move closer to invulnerability.

Sony thinks Brainiac has the right idea, so it secretly installed copy-protection software on untold-numbers of computers via music CDs. The rootkits opened up security holes and slowed down their host computers, but such are the sacrifices when a technology-driven supervillain is shoring up his defenses!

But between Brainiac and Sony, only one of them has to worry about alienating the shit out of consumers.


At first glance, the Toyman seems almost as innocuous as his name would suggest. His deal is that he builds often-comical, toy-based devices with which to commit crimes. Because buying a gun would be way too simple.

Of course, appearances can be deceiving (as they often are when you’re dealing with a dude dressed up like a jester working in an international crime syndicate), and Toyman’s seemingly harmless choo-choo trains and pogo sticks are, in fact, quite deadly. If you can believe it. Just look it up on Wikipedia. You’ll see.

So it goes with Sony’s laptop batteries. Until Sony came along, you never had occasion to look at your VAIO notebook computer and think, “God. I wonder when that little bastard is going to try to kill me. I wish he’d finally make his move so we can get this charade over with. I know it’s going to happen… he knows it’s going to happen… but, when? What are you waiting for, you sonuvabitch? What are you waiting for?!

Or something like that.

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6 comments… add one
  • Paul September 6, 2007, 10:44 am

    Well, I can’t say your really wrong here. Sony’s big problem is that they think that they can be proprietary rock stars like Apple… hey why use a flash card when you can have a memory stick!? The problem is they aren’t Apple, they don’t have anything unique that will force us to buy their items.

    Although, I don’t rejoice at Sonys downfall. I loved Sony and I have a buddy that works for them…

  • Great White Snark September 6, 2007, 12:25 pm

    Their movie download service has a prayer if it’s integrated into their TVs. People still buy their TVs.

    If you can’t say I’m really wrong, say I’m really right. It’s the American thing to do.

  • Cindi September 6, 2007, 1:41 pm

    Great post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it even though (until now) I had no opinion about Sony one way or another.

    ‘Cuz I’ve been too busy laughing at the iPhone early adopters and their $200 donation to Apple. Speaking of evil, I love Jobs’ comment: “Well, that’s what happens in technology.”

    Sorry, got off topic there for a sec.

    Another great job, GWS.

  • Great White Snark September 6, 2007, 1:57 pm

    Thanks, Cindi.

    I like laughing at the pain of suckers, too. In fact, that’s what inspires a lot of these posts.

  • Cindi September 7, 2007, 4:46 pm

    Where’s today’s post? I’m just back from a Catholic funeral and wake, and need to continue the festivities. Those folks know how to party, believe me. (Seven-and-sevens at 2 in the afternoon? Why not?)

    Again, nothing to do with Sony, but I didn’t want your blog to feel naked.

  • Great White Snark September 7, 2007, 4:54 pm

    Sorry, Cindi, posts are slower this week thanks to busy-ness at work. Things will pick up next week, and I have some AWESOME posts coming up. Forward-to-your-friends type of stuff, I promise.

    You lucky thing. Catholic funerals are almost as much fun as Catholic weddings. Y-a-a-a-wn.

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