Oh dear oh dear. Jeffrey S. Young is even less impressed by the Sony Reader than I was.
In an article posted on ZDNet, (link from ebookad.com) Jeffrey Young says that 'ever since the Trinitron and the Walkman, Japan's greatest consumer electronics business [i.e. Sony] has stumbled from one bad product to another.... The latest example of Sony's myopia is a soon-to-be-released combination of braindead technology meeting yesteryear's business model.'
It gets worse. 'Not content with having misplayed the digital music game completely, the company now hooks up with the one media industry that has totally screwed up in the digital age. Book publishing is still mired in the Gutenberg era and writers themselves are among the most reactionary netizens; efforts to introduce new Internet ideas like Google Print with full searchable text accompanied by book buying ads, get shot down by phalanxes of lawyers determined to protect the (unprofitable) status-quo.'
As I say. Oh dear. And this man is a writer himself.
Mind you, Sony's current chief executive is an Englishman (originally), Sir Howard Stringer. He and I were in the same house at school, and after leaving Oxford he has had an increasingly distinguished career. He moved to the USA, served in Vietnam, and became a US citizen. He is the first non-Japanese ever to be appointed to head a major Japanese company, and is generally thought to be a pretty good egg (it's the basic education that does it). As a result, Sony's fortunes will undoubtedly improve from here on in.