A company Sony should buy

June 5, 2007, 11:44 PM UTC
Fortune

I don’t often gush about products. I’m just not a gadget guy. I liken my knowledge of computer-related toys to my fluency in Japanese a decade ago: Pretty darn good compared to someone who speaks no Japanese; pretty weak compared to someone who does.

Anyway, I’ve just started using a product that is gushworthy. It’s called the Flip camcorder, and it’s made by a San Francisco technology company called Pure Digital Technologies. What’s so great about the Flip is that 1) it’s cheap; 2) the quality is darn good; and 3) it is brain-dead easy to connect to YouTube. In other words, for $120 or $150, you can get a really basic camcorder and then quickly post videos on the Web, as my fellow CNNMoney blog MediaBiz did recently. Trust me, it’s an instant grandparent pleaser. This product isn’t for the ultra-techy crowd. It’s for people like me, who haven’t gotten around to buying an expensive camcorder (I will) and spending hours editing videos.

As for the business, this is Pure Digital’s second product line, the first being a single-use (i.e., disposable, though the company works hard to recycle them) digital camera. The company is funded by Sequoia, Benchmark, Morgan Stanley (MS) (hey Mary … missed you at D!) and others. It’s already selling Flips at retailers like Best Buy (BBY), Target (TGT) and Costco (COST) and promises to add a bunch more. What Pure Digital has gotten right is incorporating seemless software into a small device that you’re happy to toss into your bag and forget about when you’re not using. It’s really similar, in fact, to how Apple (AAPL) built the iPod around its iTunes software. And it’s got me thinking, why in the world doesn’t Sony do this? And if it won’t, why wouldn’t Sony (SNE) buy Pure Digital?

By the way, to see the Flip in action, watch this short video of Pure Digital CEO Jonathan Kaplan talking about his own company: [youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=hz9iXBWVROM]