Sony CEO Howard Stringer pledges future openness

"If we had gone with open technology from the start, I think we probably would have beaten Apple", claims Sony CEO Howard Stringer, referring to the iPod's dominance over his company's Walkman MP3 player.

"There was a time when it made sense to divide the market with closed technology, and monopolize a divided market, but that's just not an effective strategy any more", he continued, in a wide-ranging interview with Nikkei Electronics Asia.

Commentators have accused Sony of being "closed" in its approach to the MP3 player market in the past, but Stringer claims that's going to change with the next generation of Sony products.

He praises Nintendo's Wii and Apple's iPod for delivering something that consumers wanted but weren't being provided. At the same time though, he criticises AOL and Apple for having proprietary, locked-down systems.

Sony has a lot of competition in the MP3 player market, but the embracing of more open standards combined with the company's vast marketing budget could potentially give them an advantage.