Here is a good quote from the CEO of Sony, Howard Stringer:
"We have so many rivals it's frightening. The week after next I will meet Bill Gates and Steve Jobs; shake hands with them and look down and see if I still have a hand."
One interesting aspect of this quote ... Sony has been slowly bleeding over the last few years ... continuing to release proprietary, restrictive technology. Apple (and Microsoft for that matter) have been opening up to standards and to ubiquity through volume.
- Sony released the damaging rootkit a few weeks back on it's audio CDs
- Sony has continued to market BETA to television stations
- Sony had to have their own version of the MP3 ( a lossy, proprietary standard) called ATRAC
- Sony had to have its own version of Firewire called iLink (I standing for inferior) This is an unpowered version of Firewire. I believe it is (in part) a contributing factor to a reduction in firewire sales and implementation.
- Sony has refused to integrate their technology to all consumer and prosumer lines
- They have been very restrictive and less innovative with the Playstation and the roadmap of the Playstation 2 and 3
- They have restricted the PSP into an almost worthless device ... with few games ... not allowing or roadblocking users from doing what they want to with the machine.
Apple on the other hand has embraced USB and started to integrate it more - starting with the iMacs and most recently making Nanos and Video iPods USB only
Apple has somewhat (minorly somewhat) opened the AAC (iPod DRM) with less restrictions and more universal acceptance ... not to mention opening up the dock connector to many many developers.
Apple has taken over Sony as the #1 portable audio device manufacturer
Microsoft has announced that future versions of Word will use an open document standard so any word processing program could read documents created in Word.