Thursday, October 21, 2010

ignore the consumer, and you are dead!

I worked 2 summers in Sony Europe, and I never remember having heard the term "consumer demands" or "customer requirements" maybe because I was too low in the programming/design hierarchy, or I was just a summer intern, or it was said just by the japanese..  but today I found out the reason why Sony Vaio, that was was the herald of laptops and laptop of choice for the last decade, is now a failure and virtually ignored brand in the market.. with individuals, it has been replaced by Apple's range of macbooks, and in organizations, it has lost the battle to Dell and IBM (now Lenovo) thinkpads

last year, when my hard drive on my macbook started misbehaving, I went to apple store and without any questions it was replaced, sane thing happened to the iPhone that I had actually bought second hand on ebay, it was replaced free of charge when the control button broke.. result, I buy more macs!

despite my discouragements, my dad decided to buy a Vaio laptop (because 20 years ago the name Sony was associated with quality), so he paid about £500 for a Vaio laptop  (bought from MAKRO superstores)  which could hardly match a £350 Acer/Lenovo...

few days later when this gift finally got to my sister, we found the screen to be cracked with dead pixels.. clearly Makro took no responsibility and gave us an 0870 number for Sony customer support.. Sony customer support told us that they can accept a repair service only if we post them the laptop, and we are responsible for all the repair costs.. However, they could not give us any estimate for the repair cost, because an engineer had to look at the laptop.. although I could clearly tell them the the LCD had a crack in the box, and in such corner (which would naturally require the whole monitor to be replaced), however they still refused to give a quotation for the repair costs... more interesting, if upon inspection, we are not happy to go ahead and pay the estimated repair cost, we are still liable for £50 admin fee!

Sony may not be getting any repair money from me in this case, they may think that we have lost few hundred pounds.. but in the age of social media and recommendations and social networks, it is ultimately the consumer which gets the best deal..  perhaps it is obvious why we don't see anymore Vaio's in universities and corporations, and home users love macbooks (posh) and EEEPCs (practical and cheap)...