We've always had a soft spot for Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer, and it sounds like the old man's doing more than cajoling Tom Hanks into telling jokes following his consolidation of power: in a lengthy and illuminating interview with Nikkei Electronics Asia, Sir Howard pledged that Sony would use more open standards in the future, saying "If we had gone with open technology from the start, I think we probably would have beaten Apple" in the music market. That's a pretty bold statement to be making in hindsight -- especially since we're pretty sure the Connect Player and SonicStage would have still driven people screaming into the arms of iTunes -- but it's pretty heartwarming to hear from the head of a company just as famous for an endless array of funky proprietary standards as it is the Walkman. You want to make us feel even warmer and fuzzier, Howie? "We can no longer say that we're right and our customers are wrong. We can't build only what we want to build." Wow -- sounds like the start of a whole new Sony. We'll see if Sir Howard can actually pull off what sounds like a major change in his company's culture, but for right now we'd recommend hitting the read link and taking in the whole interview, cause it's a good one.