Tech czar takes off

Wiser leaves Sony unit for digital startup

A correction was made to this article on June 2, 2006.

Just a year and a half after he was named chief technology officer for Sony Corp. of America and asked to get the conglom’s ailing online media strategy in shape, Phil Wiser is ankling to become chairman and prexy of digital homevid startup Building B.

While Sony execs up to topper Howard Stringer have acknowledged the need to unify their hardware, content and distribution businesses under the Connect brand in order to compete with Apple’s iTunes and iPod and others, the effort has thus far failed.

Connect online musicstore is viewed by most as an example of what not to do in online media.

“I think the strategy is alive and well, and (Stringer) continues to push it forward, but we haven’t gotten the market share anyone wanted,” Wiser noted. “Personally, my background is in smaller, entrepreneurial companies. I’m used to a pace that a large company like Sony doesn’t move at.”

Building B, founded by Silicon Valley vet Buno Pati, will focus on delivering digital entertainment into the home in a simple, easy-to-use way that can be employed by a larger audience than the tech-savvy minority who already possess home networks.

While its work is still in the early stages, Northern California-based company is expected to provide software and hardware as well as distribute content itself.

Previous to becoming chief technology officer of Sony Corp., Wiser spent three years in the same job at Sony Music, guiding its digital strategy. Before that, he co-founded online music company Liquid Audio.

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