How Sony Laptops Get That Way
Over on Charlie Stross’s site he has a horror story about upgrading to Windows 7. The story itself is worth a laugh/cry, but in the comments you’ll find this gem:
In general Sony’s engineers seem to have the free hand in designing the prettiest, friendliest, most well-built machines possible. They get to develop advanced technology, or buy it from competitors at any price. At the cutting edge of consumer electronics their design process has the grace and elegance of a tea ceremony. Their products have a soul.
Then, at a certain point during development, the engineers take their slick, shiny prototype up to the thirteenth floor and leave it on a massive smoked glasss table in an dark, empty conference room. They go home silently, and drink sake in a melancholy their wives cannot understand.
Back on the thirteenth floor, a team of crack marketeers emerges and starts handicapping the prototype. They add bloatware that links to unyielding vaporware websites, disable hardware for unlocking in future updates, install seven gigs of designer screen saver ‘introduction’ movies. They disable any meaningful way to use the device without buying into a distributed network of an occult protocol.
Meanwhile the CEO’s stalk each other in bamboo rooftop forests, their katanas gleaming with the blood of intra-corporate informants as they search to battle for supremacy.
At home the engineers try to forget what could have been. At one point they have drank enough sakes to allow themselves to cry a single, desperate tear.