24/7 Wall St. TV: Sony e-Reader To Ship Late Adding To Company Woes

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The management at Sony (NYSE:SNE) looks more and more like “The Gang That Couldn’t Shot Straight.” Its TV screen business is losing money. Most months, sales of the PS3 fall behind those of the Microsoft (NYSE:MSFT) Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii.

Sony appears to have a promising new product in its Daily Edition Reader, the company’s e-reader offering. The device puts it into competition with market leader Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and its popular Kindle, but Sony still have the consumer electronics brand power to give it a reasonable change to be a force in the e-book industry.

It would be nice if Sony could get its product out for the holidays.

The Wall Street Journal suggested that readers who look at the Sony e-reader section of SonyStyle.com will find that the product can be preordered but will not ship until some time between December 18 and January 8 and even then “actual delivery date cannot be guaranteed.”

Sony has a history of disappointing investors which may be caused by its history of disappointing customers. The battle for e-reader market share will not be entirely won or lost this holiday, but the efforts by Amazon and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) to gain customers during the high point of the annual retail season  are already considerable. The Kindle is being promoted on the home page of Amazon.com and the Barnes & Noble “Nook” is the featured product at the barnesandnoble.com site.

Research firm Forrester recently raised its forecast of holiday e-reader sales to three million from two million. Sony is risking what could be as many as a few hundred thousand sales by not being able to guarantee shipment of its product before Christmas.

This holiday might have offered Sony a chance to improve its reputation which is now one of being a consumer electronics “also ran”. Instead, it will only add to its own history of disappointing customers.

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Douglas A. Mcintyre

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Executive Producer: Philip MacDonald