Sony: "Consider the US with its massive land and cheap people"

Sony: "Consider the US with its massive land and cheap people"

Summary: Sony's UK managing director Ray Maguire says America full of "cheap people."

TOPICS: Tech Industry

Another quote from the "did they really say that?!" files.  This quote is another from a Sony executive, UK managing director Ray Maguire as reported by

Why is the PlayStation 3 more expensive in the UK than it is in the rest of Europe?

Well the first thing that is important is that I want the price to be as low as possible, because the lower the price the more we sell – we're a software model.

If you take the product at the factory gates there are slight variations to price if you're putting out a single sku product, but it's very, very small. But then the differences start to accumulate. If you've got different shipping costs and import duties that makes variation in price. And that's just getting it into a country. Then you have a look at the economic and financial situation in each and every territory. That's where the differences start to vary massively.

If you take what's considered to be the most expensive and the least expensive – consider the US with its massive land and cheap people. Then you look at the UK – a little island where rent and rates are at an absolute premium, and the cost of people is a lot more. The cost of retail is vastly more in the UK than it is in the US and that's before you even stop to consider the US doesn't have VAT at RRP, they put a small amount on afterwards. Whereas, we get stung by 17.5 per cent. And pity the poor Irish and places like Sweden.

But we have to remember this is no different to selling a cup of Starbucks coffee or a McDonald's hamburger. This is the cost of living in the UK. It just becomes another barrier for us to get more product into the marketplace because the price needs to be set higher to get from our factory to the consumer. [emphasis mine]

Eh?  What's he on about?  Why start ranting on about Americans when trying to justify the price of the PS3 in the UK?  Sounds to me like what he's really saying is that Sony would like to sell the PS3 for more in the US if it could but can't get away with it.

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • Cutting some slack

    It sounds like the quote is a broken English problem and not an intentional insult to all of American. With the next line as context, I believe he is simply stating that "Labor is cheaper" (Cheap People) and land is less expensive here (large land mass) and hence less overhead. i.e. Labor in the shops is cheaper and overhead is less. As he did state correctly, it just costs more to sell products in the UK.

    At least that's my take.

    • Hmmmmm!

      The sentence does not "read" very well so I'd be inclined to agree that it is a verbal snafu, but even so, he should issue a clarification to make it clear and an apology for the mix up.

      As for prices being higher in the UK I think that is all b*llsh*t and Sony are just pushing up the prices as far as they will go.

      Labour costs may be higher in the UK, but what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts - healthcare in the UK is free so in the US taxes can be lower but you may have to consider health insurance which costs money. There are undoubtably other examples but that's the one that comes to mind first.

      Having said all that, I look forward to the day when Blair and his slimeball, "tax and spend" govt get pushed into the pages of history and taxes get cut.
      • Cheap?

        Nah, not that Yanks are cheap, just that Euro are so expensive... you have to pay for quality ;-)
  • cheap people....

    It's so annoying that everything is more expensive in Europe!

    and Sony Rep is full of cr*p!!

    How about China!? Do they sell PS3 there for 30$?????

    people are cheap and it's probably made there in the first place! so shipment costs to start with!

    On the same note software companies! : What is the cost of people : when you sell software as a web download?

    Sure we have VAT in the EU. but even without it, prices are sky high!

    And the talk, that EU market is now larger than the US - and that will bring prices down.... at most laughable! Sad!
  • Price Check across the pond

    Re: "trying to justify the price of the PS3 in the UK?" before you even begin to do this take a simple item like a McDonalds cheeseburger. It's almost twice the price. Also take the base salary in the UK compared to the US, based on the cost of living the salary is appropiate. In Canada the cost of an automobile built in Canada is 6 to 10 % more expensive, dollar for dollar, that has to do with taxes and surcharges, that are not levied in the US. Independant economics. The price of Gasoline in Egypt, which has very little in terms of oil reserves, pays under 60 cents for a gallon of gas at the pumps, are the Oil companies ripping us off. I guess it depends on perspective and an educated approach to understanding what is global trading on the whole.
  • So a Sony suit says people are cheap...

    EVERY suit thinks that people are cheap. The only difference is, the others are smart enough not to say it out loud.
    Mr. Roboto
  • Circuit City

    I've got to say- after the news today that Circuit City (not a store I frequent a lot, but...) is firing 3400 of their most senior (and best paid) "associates", because they are making too much money.... (yeah, like I want an "associate" who just started and doesn't know his- to quote Dilbert- "ash from a hole in the ground")
    In an odd bit of syncronicity, the last item I bought at Circuit City was my Sony TV :).