June 28, 2011 at 12:56 PM ET
It hasn't been a good day for Sony CEO Howard Stringer.
The executive was in the hot seat Tuesday at the company's annual meeting with shareholders in Tokyo where he fielded questions about the PlayStation Network fiasco that left the personal information belonging to 77 million gamers in the hands of hackers.
It was here that a few cranky shareholders even called for him to step down, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, according to the Wall Street Journal, Stringer’s salary and bonuses have been cut 16 percent to 345 million yen ($4.27 million) for the fiscal year that ended March 30 – down from 410 million yen the year before.
Sony also cut compensation for its Executive Deputy President (and Stringer's possible successor) Kaz Hirai to 101 million yen (down from 110 million yen in the prior period) – this on the heels of reporting a third straight annual loss, according to Bloomberg.
Although no hacking group has taken credit for the massive Sony breach, at the shareholders meeting Tuesday Stringer indirectly suggested that it was his company's lawsuit against famed hacker George Hotz that inspired the attacks.
"We believe that we first became the subject of attack because we tried to protect our IP (intellectual property), our content, in this case videogames," Stringer said.
Sony sued Hotz after he posted online the code to jailbreak Sony's PlayStation 3 consoles so they could play homebrew games (and, yes, pirated games too). The attacks then happened a week after Sony agreed to settle the case with Hotz. (In fact, hacking collective Anonymous did promise to wagea cyber war on Sony for suing the hacker.)
But as some shareholders called for Stringer's ouster Tuesday, the CEO sidestepped the request and instead pointed out that Sony is hardly the only company to face this kind of cyber assault.
"I think you see that cyber terrorism is now a global force, affecting many more companies than just Sony," Stringer said. "If hackers can hack Citibank, the FBI and the CIA, and yesterday the video game company Electronics Arts, then it's a negative situation that governments may have to resolve."
On the upside of things, Sony says 90 percent of PlayStation Network users have now returned to the service. No word on where the other 10 percent have gone.
Gamers, what do you think? Should Stringer get the ax for how Sony handled the PSN fiasco? Or is he right ... this is a bigger problem and pointing the finger at the victim isn't the solution?
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