In the Playstation debacle, Sony plays a serious game

There is a truism in business, and politics: it’s never the offense that gets you into trouble, it’s how you handle the aftermath. “Watergate” would not have become shorthand for corruption if the massive criminal cover up of political dirty tricks hadn’t unraveled. “Tylenol” might just have been a trivia answer had Johnson & Johnson not rebounded from the seven tragic deaths of people who took their tainted pain killers into a case study of pitch-perfect crisis management.

Apple and Google both had some explaining to do in recent days about how they collect, store and use tracking information on the smartphones which, combined, account for nearly two thirds of the market. But Sony might have an even bigger challenge on its hands.

Sometime between April 16 and 19 hackers gained access to private information about some 77 million Playstation customers, including logins, passwords, e-mail addresses, home addresses, and possibly account history and credit card information. It took Sony nearly a week to disclose this, even though it shaped up to be one of the biggest data breaches in history.

On Sunday — nearly two weeks later — the company took the first meaningful step to regain the public’s trust. It included both ritualistic and material elements. But as PR professionals will tell you, doing ritual wrong makes material unbelievable.

Sony’s quest began with a simple bow — though not from the company’s CEO, a curious decision given that humility from no less than a chief executive is usually required to turn public opinion in high-stakes damage control. In Sony’s case it is all the more odd since its CEO, Howard Stringer, is no Tony Hayward, the tone deaf BP CEO who apparently forgot that people had died in the Gulf Horizon disaster when he told an interviewer that he’d “like his life back.”

Do US Open organizers really think the iPad is dangerous?

venuswilliams The organizers of the US Open pride themselves on using technology to help tennis fans enjoy the sport more both inside and outside the stadium.
But, as far as iPad is concerned the tournament’s tech love affair only goes so far, as the grand slam organizers appear to have banned the device from the stadium itself.
Some visitors to Arthur Ashe Stadium learned about this the hard way; by being turned away from the gates when security guards found them carrying the offending gadgets.
Given that the event organizers take space on their website to boast about their iPhone app, it was not immediately clear why its bigger cousin the iPad should be forbidden.
One security worker explained to a disappointed fan of both tennis and the iPad that the ban was due to concerns about  terrorists.  “They’re  using iPads to detonate things.”
Really?  A US open official was not immediately available on Wednesday to verify this was the tournament’s official stance.

Hidden in the security section of the visitor’s guide to the US Open website is a list of items prohibited from the event including computers and laptops as well as video recorders.

But the irony was not lost on tech reporters and executives attending the game on Tuesday night because US Tennis Association has been reasonably forward looking when it comes to technology.  The event’s tech boasts include an augmented reality iPhone app that IBM developed for the USTA. That  app promises to warn you about the quickest bathroom lines or   off what’s happening in other courts if you point your phone  in the right direction.
You could also enjoy the action of simultaneous matches by flicking between video streams on devices such as iPad.

from Summit Notebook:

Alphabet-shaped recovery? Try bathtub-shaped

We've all heard discussions on what letter of the alphabet the economic recovery will look like. Will it be "V" shaped -- as in, a sharp plummeting, followed by an equally sharp upswing? Or more "U" shaped -- a downturn followed by a flat period before the recovery starts? Is the lightness we're witnessing in the economy the mid-point in a more extended recovery process, mirroring the letter "W"? And heaven forbid, let's not even think we might be stuck in an "L" shaped economy, with no near or medium-term hope of improvement.

We asked the chief executives of Sybase and Symantec, our first two guests at the Reuters Global Technology Summit, what they thought the recovery graph might look like.

Sybase CEO John Chen said he remains cautious about the overall economic outlook despite talk of a "green shoots" rebound and the idea that tech spending has hit a bottom. So it's unlikely to be a V-shaped recovery or even a W-shaped recovery, Chen said. He think the economy is going through a U-shaped recovery, although it might be a year or more before we begin to climb up the right side of the "U."