Why Sony's Howard Stringer Has One of the Hardest Jobs in the World

Fortune's profile-cum-appraisal of Howard Stringer and his efforts to reform Sony paints a fairly bleak picture. Stringer's got some solid ideas, but implementing them sounds like a nightmare, and the future—even in his hopeful forecast—is alarmingly hazy.

The buzz around Stringer's ascension has always been that he would bring an assertive, brasher management style to the company, which would allow him to enact the sweeping reforms the company needs. The problem is, his new ideas often fall on deaf ears, and he's finding getting anything done plainly difficult. The piece is a great read on the whole, but doesn't see a clear way forward for Stringer, or Sony. Hence, this sad passage:

The real test of Stringer's game plan is a product that doesn't even exist yet, isn't a machine, and has no code name. It is a kind of omnibus web-based software platform that will use the power of the Internet to connect the company's rich library of content and devices, creating a multimedia experience for customers that actually rewards them for buying multiple Sony products and services.

In other words, Sony need to become Google and Apple, all at once, in about a year. Good luck, Howie! [Fortune via Chris Anderson]