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Sony CEO says the company will no longer pursue sales growth in smartphones

In an effort to focus on its profitable divisions, Sony is planning to undergo a massive restructuring, as part of which it will abandon its money-losing businesses. The company has plans to throw in

In an effort to focus on its profitable divisions, Sony is planning to undergo a massive restructuring, as part of which it will abandon its money-losing businesses. The company has plans to throw in the towel on its smartphone and TV divisions. It will be shifting its attention to movies, music, games and image sensors sectors that have been returning profits, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai said today, Reuters reports.

The Japanese technology conglomerate — which was once one of the most iconic players in the industry — has run into serious trouble in recent years. Its smartphone business as well flat-panel TV lineups have costed the company instead of returning positive results, the CEO chimed in on Wednesday. Sony had spun off its TV business last year.

AP and The Hollywood Reporter citing the CEO report that the company is planning to spin off its video-and-sound business into a separate company. The transition to make the video and sound unit more independent will be completed by October, Hirai said. The report further adds that Sony has plans to shrink its headquarters as part of a three-year turnaround plan. By shrinking together the headquarters, the company hopes that it will speed up the decision-making process.

Hirai said that the company aims to boost its operating profit by 25-fold within next three years by focusing on camera sensors and gaming and entertainment divisions. As part of the move, it will be abandoning smartphone lineup starting next financial year of the company. “The strategy starting from the next business year will be about generating profit and investing for growth,” Hirai said.

Hirai acknowledged the growing competition in the smartphone space from Asian players like Xiaomi, Micromax, and others that have slumped down its low-end and mid-range smartphone sales. In the upper tier, the company is struggling to compete with Apple and Samsung, leaving the company little to no incentive to continue. He noted that he won’t “rule out considering an exit strategy.”

Multiple reports claim that Sony won’t be launching the Xperia Z4 — the company’s supposed forthcoming flagship smartphone — at the Mobile World Congress event next month. The handset was originally expected to be launched at the CES last month. If it isn’t launched next month, the phone will exceed the six-month upgrade cycle the company had shifted to last year.

While it may come as a sudden surprising move, the company has had been hinting its growing struggle to maintain its money-losing lineups. Last year, the company sold off its PC business to an investment firm Japan Industrial Partners. The company had also axed thousands of employees as part of the process.

Sony’s image sensors, gaming, and entertainment businesses have been returning solid profits. “The Sony spirit is about doing what others didn’t dare to do,” Hirai said. Its share has risen more than 80 percent since Hirai appointed Kenichiro Yoshida as his chief strategy officer in late 2013.

Hirai pledged to post an operating profits of at least $4.2 billion for 2017-18 fiscal year. The company, however, anticipates a loss of $1.4 billion for the running fiscal year through March. As it moves forward with a new plan, it plans to invest in innovating areas and participate in more acquisitions and partnerships.

  • Published Date: February 18, 2015 10:10 PM IST
  • Updated Date: February 18, 2015 11:27 PM IST