I was not the only one surprised one day ago when Sony Pictures decided to cancel the scheduled Christmas release of the assassination comedy movie that was the specific target of the recent data theft at the company. It is, of course, a bad precedent if state-sponsored spies and terrorists have enough influence to get an artistic work pulled from the market, but obviously Sony is more aware of that than most of us. My take on the situation is that Sony Pictures is more battered and bruised by the massive data release than we can tell from the outside. Perhaps the future of the organization is in doubt, or perhaps there is just an unprecedented level of chaos in the office, combined with the usual toll that December vacations take on any corporate operation. Whatever the reason, Sony is weakened enough that it does not have its usual ability to respond to a crisis.
I can’t bring myself to look through any of the data stolen from Sony, given the obvious conflict of interest that would imply. In any case, the historical documents, many of them said to be from August or earlier, won’t answer the most important questions that lie ahead, particularly the question of what else there is that Sony won’t be able to do in the coming weeks.