“The people, who were here yesterday, are not here today and will not come back” says a Malayalam funeral song. This is what is happening to the electronic industry right now. Kodak with its ‘golden moments’ is long lost after leaving nostalgic pains in the hearts of millions. Japan’s electronic industry is in a mess. Sony, Sharp and Panasonic have recorded a collective loss of US $17 billion in 2011. On the other side, fierce innovators are establishing from the new lands like South Korea and China.
In nearly one hundred years of its history, the electronic industry was witnessing rapid changes over the last two decades. Computing and communication are moving with the individual. Technological changes are happening quickly. Personal computing has graduated from desktops to laptops, notebooks and to tablets. This makes product innovation a necessary routine affair for survival in the industry. When invention is routinized, an early death awaits every new invention.
Sony, the inventor of walkman and play station was the leader in the industry for almost two decades. But somewhere, it faced attrition in the job of invention, ceased to be a serial inventor and is pushed back by Apple and Samsung. Sony was not able to utilize the mobile phone revolution as its tie up with Ericson was considered to be a faulty one by most analysts. Now, the company is ailing, and is exiting from the saturated television market. Worst for Sony is that it has gone far behind Apple and Samsung in the niche market of tablets.
Who is next to be waxed in the museum of corporate history, after Kodak? Only time can say. Anyway, electronic firms from Japan are strong candidates.