First, Sony (SNE) tried the Japanese way of contrition with its partners and customers: Bowing low and issuing many apologies. Now the company has decided to let its inner Brit out in the form of CEO Howard Stringer, who came out firing at the company's critics with a defense that consisted of the tried-and-true "No one could have seen it coming" followed by a chorus of "We're not as bad as a lot of other companies."
"This was an unprecedented situation," he told reporters. "Most of these breaches go unreported by companies. Forty-three percent [of companies] notify victims within a month. We reported in a week. You're telling me my week wasn't fast enough?"
This would explain the company's new tagline: Sony -- Aiming for the 44th Percentile.
Stringer amplified what he meant by "unprecedented" in a WSJ interview, saying:
You have to understand that [Sony Online Entertainment] has been in business for 10 years and PlayStation Network has been in business for five years without any breaches of magnitude. We have no reason to believe that our security was not good.Apparently someone forgot to send Mr. Stringer the memo about how the public has figured out what it means when you say, "No one could see it coming." It means, "Of course, we should have prevented this." Stringer has now joined a pantheon that includes:
- Former president George Bush and Hurricane Katrina
- Former Fed chair Alan Greenspan and the mortgage meltdown
- Former BP boss Tony Hayward and the Gulf Oil spill
- Former GM CEO Rick Wagoner and the rising price of gas
- Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship and the mine safety inspection farce
- TEPCO and its pesky sunken diesel generators
While Stringer was very clearly not feeling defensive about Sony's actions, the company was releasing details of its plan to compensate users for actually having to get up from their couches for a while. Apparently that compensation is worth about $104 max. Not bad for basically turning off the TV.