hirai

Sony has been a dominant, household name in consumer electronics for my entire life, so it’s weird to think that they’re in a bad way, but that’s exactly where they are. They’ve been taking losses for a while now, which is why CEO Kaz Hirai is furthergoing against his “One Sony” vision and now splitting off the company’s audio and video divisions.

Last year around this time, Hirai sold off the company’s Vaio brand and spun Sony’sTV business into its own division. Now there’s talk of spinning the smartphone business off into its own thing and selling off the TV business outright. Sony is being deconstructed from the inside out in an attempt to slim it down and only focus on the things that are bringing in the big money. According to Hirai, these moves will lift the company from a loss to an operating profit for this fiscal year and the spinoffs will lead to an annual profit of 500 billion yen by 2018.

So what does this leave for Sony? According to Hirai, these will be Sony’s three core businesses:

Sony Pictures Entertainment, which just fired studio chief Amy Pascal after the disastrous hacking incident last year that was blamed on North Korea and almost shelved the Seth Rogen/James Franco film The Interview. To get an idea of where they’re at financially, they just struck a deal to lend Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for free, just so they can ride the MCU coattails when they continue their own Spider-Man franchise in a few years.

Then there’s PlayStation, and while the PlayStation 4 is leading the next-gen console race over Microsoft’s Xbox One and Nintendo’s Wii-U, Sony’s mobile game pales in comparison to Nintendo’s and I think you can safely call the Vita something of a failure at this point.

Then there’s the image sensors that they sell to Apple for use with the iPhone. It’s funny that one of Sony’s most profitable operations has nothing to do with consumers. This seems like the most unstableof the three, as all Apple has to do is decide that they’re making their own sensors or buying them from someone else and that’s a third of Sony’s core gone.

There’s a lot to speculate on here. We can’t predict the future of Sony’s various businesses if Hirai himself is still bouncing ideas around. If they do spin off the smartphone section, what happens to the Xperia? Sony’s line hasn’t seen the same success as Samsung or Apple’s brands, but they’re quality smartphones and someone will no doubt scoop them off if Sony decides to sell them off.

Kaz Hirai has a lot of problem solving ahead of him.

via The Verge and The Verge

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