One of our designers recently used her new Sony digital camera to take some office photos. As she did not have the USB connector with her, she looked for a device to pop the Memory Stick into, so she could upload her photos onto a computer. Unfortunately, as we found out, the technology of her camera was too new for anything else in this office.
Sony, it seems, is playing hard to get with its devices. This brings up the issue of vendor lock-in, where a consumer must incur the setup costs to adopt a new product that a vendor is offering.
The Sony Memory Stick in our designer’s camera, a proprietary design, is completely different from the one in my own Sony camera. Further investigation shed some light on the matter, in that Sony had created a new kind of Memory Stick, dubbed, “Memory Stick Pro Duo.” Wow.
This is a completely new technology–the new cards can hold a larger amount of data and have more functionality to work with video capturing and file-transfer rates. Awesome! I am at least glad that Sony is keeping up on their game to push advancements in technology. But they are forgetting about many of their loyal consumers, not to mention other electronics manufacturers who have built-in Sony Memory Stick Pro slots in their products.
What Sony has done is separate its consumer base. Older media will still function but are not compatible with their newer ones. Even the USB cable that comes with a newer model of Sony camera is no longer compatible. I can make a reasonable assumption that a year from now, if I needed to purchase an older model Memory Stick Pro card for my personal camera, I would have to buy it used or refurbished, or I’d simply have to buy in to Sony’s new technology.
This is where vendor lock-in comes into play. If I become dependent on a technology, but said technology advances, I am left with little choice but to upgrade if I want to continue using the product. I could switch to another brand, but in the end I would still be spending money to transition to a new product, whether with the same vendor or a new one.
I have seen similar issues arise over time. Technology changes, which I both understand and accept. Advancements must be made to improve the quality and functionality of a growing technological industry. As a result, consumers are almost forced to upgrade their devices and technology in order to keep up with the revisions that electronics developers and manufacturers come up with.