Q: With a pirate CD, it is possible to control any illegal acts on a region-by-region basis. But file swapping on the network is an exchange between individuals. This makes it difficult to seize the "bookmaker."

A: An unknown company with a new technology can become a major company all of a sudden. But it does not mean that venture businesses will lead the field of new technologies. If I was to liken the current situation to the PC industry, I would say that we are now in a situation where Intel or Microsoft were the subcontractors of IBM. We don't even know who is competing with whom. It's a very complicated age. I think the age of true transformation has begun.

Network access is a means

Q: You seem to be emphasizing only your worries as we head for the network age. In contrast, there are many who say that IPv6 could explore a new future.

A: I think that the world may become even more difficult to understand in an age where IPv6 is the standard. We're connected with IPv6. So what? If connection with IPv6 is the goal, there's no difference between Sony, Matsushita, Toshiba and Hitachi. There's no corporate identity. That's what I meant by saying that I cannot find the solution in the network age. IEEE1394, HAVi, Bluetooth, IEEE802.11 a and b…there are already many technologies for connection. No matter how hard we work on the technology side, it won't bring a new culture. We need to introduce something from there in order to benefit the consumers.

Q: So, Sony is a company that considers the purpose as well. Is this why you feel an anxiety in the network age?

A: Yes. The communications protocol is made up of seven layers. The industrial circle is also made up of layers. Sony belongs to the application layer, and are closer to the consumers. In this respect, we belong to the same layer as Toyota or General Motor. We are certainly not in the same layer as Sun Microsystems or Cisco Systems. That's why Sony has to think about the meaning of IPv6. IPv6 is merely an environment. Sony has to think about how to use mobile communications in the IPv6 environment. Otherwise, we would only be a component maker that offers a variety of technologies. If we live by the component business, that's okay. But we live by the application business. We can't let the other application layer companies be the gallant ones.