Credit card companies find no PSN-related activity, all eyes on Hirai

Wells Fargo, American Express, and MasterCard say there's no unauthorized activity tied to leak; debacle may affect executive's succession to Sony's top spot; Sony shares sink 4.5 percent.


As the PSN outage and data leak drag on, Bloomberg has posted a pair of articles that add to the ongoing saga. First, the news service reports that financial companies Wells Fargo, American Express, and MasterCard have seen "no unauthorized activity relating to Sony." The news comes shortly after Sony announced that all PSN credit card information had been encrypted during the time of the leak and that there was "no evidence" that any had been stolen.

Kaz Hirai's handling of the PSN crisis may determine if he succeeds Sir Howard Stringer as Sony Corp. CEO.
Kaz Hirai's handling of the PSN crisis may determine if he succeeds Sir Howard Stringer as Sony Corp. CEO.

The credit card companies' revelation is a rare bright spot in the crisis, which is weighing heavily on the brow of one particular Sony executive. Bloomberg also reports that Kaz Hirai, who became head of Sony's entire consumer electronics business on April 1, is under a magnifying glass to see how he handles the ongoing debacle. The scrutiny is particularly intense as Hirai has extolled a plan to use the PlayStation Network as the basis of a content store that will extend to other Sony devices, such as HDTVs and Blu-ray players.

"Almost everything Hirai has been trying to do has an element of network," Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities analyst Masahiko Ishino told the news service. "Sony's strategy to connect its products through network is very crucial for the company's transformation. Sony may struggle if the business gets disrupted."

How Hirai copes with the PSN outage--which has already sparked government investigations and civil lawsuits--will likely affect his chances of succeeding current Sony Corp. CEO Sir Howard Stringer. As part of the announcement of Hirai's promotion, Stringer himself said that he was the frontrunner. "This is an opportunity for the board to watch Hirai-san and judge his performance," said Stringer.

Unfortunately for Sony, the market is already weighing in on the PSN outage. Today, Sony shares fell 4.5 percent to 2,260 ($27.71) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It was the largest decline for the company since the tragic earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in mid-March.

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