Sony takes full control of mobile business to better compete with Apple

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


After paying $1.4 billion to take sole control of its mobile business, Sony has named a new head of its smartphone division, as the company hopes to better compete with rivals like Apple and Samsung.



Kunimasa Suzuki, responsible for planning and design of Sony's consumer products and services, has been tapped to become the president and chief executive of Sony Mobile Communications, The Wall Street Journal. The company paved the way for the move in buying out Swedish partner Ericsson, which had been a part of Sony's mobile business for a decade.



But it was that partnership with Ericsson, and the lack of complete control it gave Sony, that the company viewed as a major weakness. It bought out Ericsson for €1.05 billion, or $1.38 billion U.S., in an effort to take on Apple and its highly successful iPhone and iPad.



Sony is now pursuing a unified "four screens" strategy that will span across the company's smartphone, PC, television and tablet product lines. Suzuki is one of the top deputies of Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Harai, who took over the company earlier this year.



Harai became famous for his work with Sony's gaming business and the PlayStation brand. But in his new role as CEO, he looks to mimic Apple's strategy by tightly integrating hardware and software in Sony's products.











"Kuni has a vast experience in product planning and management in the information technology and mobile product business, as well as experience of cultivating business in emerging markets," Hirai said. "He is a strong leader and the right person to oversee Sony Mobile Communications as we establish a new business structure as 'One Sony' intended to reinforce and accelerate our overall business management."



The changes come as Sony has struggled to return to profitability. In the December quarter alone, the Japanese electronics maker reported an operating loss of $1.2 billion, on revenue of $23.4 billion.



The final year of operation for Sony Ericsson also saw a loss of €247 million as the company failed to gain significant market share. The latest data from Gartner gave Sony Ericsson a 1.8 percent share of mobile device sales in 2011, well behind Apple's 5 percent share and Samsung's 17.7 percent.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,187member
    Four screens, but how many operating systems?
  • uguysrnutsuguysrnuts Posts: 459member
    If they had to think about this, it's already too late.
  • monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,051member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by uguysrnuts View Post


    If they had to think about this, it's already too late.



    lol agreed!
  • pokepoke Posts: 506member
    I think this is a smart move. But those "4 screens" need a common platform otherwise it's pointless. They should also reduce their product catalogue and focus more on doing a few things right. There's also the problem that they suck at software and UX.
  • tailstootailstoo Posts: 22member
    So they can beat apple by copying apple?



    They only way Sony can win is to come up with something to change the game. The name Sony doesnt draw people the way it used to. They have to be better than apple.
  • uguysrnutsuguysrnuts Posts: 459member
    Not gonna happen. It goes against "throw everything, see what sticks". Aka "diversifying" to cover all markets.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by poke View Post


    They should also reduce their product catalogue and focus more on doing a few things right.



  • mac'em xmac'em x Posts: 79member
    And for the new Sony, will "tightly integrating hardware and software" still involve the same generic Windows and Android operating systems that are used by makers of the most bargain-priced, low-margin, nondescript devices out there?
  • uguysrnutsuguysrnuts Posts: 459member
    What Sony, RIM, HP, etc., need to understand is they have to reinvent themselves the way Apple had to back in 1997.



    They need to make themselves cool (or at least seem to) to become relevant again. The masses have moved on a long, long time ago.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TailsToo View Post


    So they can beat apple by copying apple?



    They only way Sony can win is to come up with something to change the game. The name Sony doesnt draw people the way it used to. They have to be better than apple.



  • plstfflsplstffls Posts: 9member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by poke View Post


    I think this is a smart move. But those "4 screens" need a common platform otherwise it's pointless. They should also reduce their product catalogue and focus more on doing a few things right. There's also the problem that they suck at software and UX.



    My guess: ARM based processors using flavours of the Power Systems Software.
  • dennyldennyl Posts: 28member
    Good luck to them. I was a Sony-Ericsson fanboy, having had a k750i then a k800i. Then I looked at a k850i in a shop and I was shocked at how tacky it was and bought an iPhone. Best thing I ever did. Now they're stuck with Android, just as their laptops are stuck with Windows. That doesn't give them much room for manoeuvre. Maybe put a few more megapixels on the camera, a few widgets on the welcome screen, and compete on price. That would never win me back.
  • gtrgtr Posts: 3,165member
    It will interesting to see if Harai will actually be able to get the titanic Sony through the iceberg field that they're in.



    I'd love to know what they're going to be doing in the software field, considering it's been their Achilles heel for decades. They'll be starting from scratch in this department if they do it themselves.
  • tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,433member
    To be like Apple, you have to have your own OS and be good at both software and hardware.



    Sony might be able to get away with developing its own fork of Android but they're stuck with Windows. And they're as good as anyone in hardware but boy do they crank out awful software.



    And enough with the proprietary storage media!
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,202member
    Apple could buy Sony at 19B and not burp. Great brand name, great media empire.

    perhaps wait till it is worth half as much in a year or two though.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    So Sony is still putting the focus on the HW, not the SW or services? Good luck, Sony.
  • backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    So Sony is still putting the focus on the HW, not the SW or services? Good luck, Sony.



    They don't want RIM to go down alone.
  • quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,550member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    So Sony is still putting the focus on the HW, not the SW or services? Good luck, Sony.



    Well said. It's more of the same old, same old, from Apple's competition.
  • beltsbearbeltsbear Posts: 304member
    In the days before the iPhone I purchased two of those pieces of junk. While I had returned phones to be repaired before, I had never returned one to be replaced with SOMETHING DIFFERENT. They simply felt so cheap and had poor reception.



    Too bad for Sony. This will never work and they just wasted 1.4 billion dollars!
  • maccherrymaccherry Posts: 924member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by uguysrnuts View Post


    If they had to think about this, it's already too late.



    Oh no you didn't ! But yeah, Sony sucks.

    Their vita is garbage , their phones are trash and when that Apple tv( knock on wood) drops Sony will be seen as a tired 500 lb. gorilla, just like HP.

    By the way, who wants to bet Meg Whitman will be

    out of there by the end of the year?
  • sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,515member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    [...] Sony is now pursuing a unified "four screens" strategy that will span across the company's smartphone, PC, television and tablet product lines. [...]



    Not sure if "PC" should be considered just one of four screens. Maybe laptop / desktop could be considered separate screens.



    Then again, Sony is in big trouble. Splitting hairs like that is a luxury that they can't afford.
  • sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,515member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    So Sony is still putting the focus on the HW, not the SW or services? Good luck, Sony.



    Indeed. I remember when US companies were in awe of Japan Inc. Back when Sony's secret key to success was the firmware that drove their hardware. That's right. I read in many traditional media outlets that Japanese manufacturers' bulletproof firmware was one of their main strengths. The built-in mini-OS that ran in '90s Sony TVs with its on-screen feature navigation.



    Now we can look back and see that Sony, among others, thought that the best way to deliver a great user experience was to train users to become great at dealing with a terrible user interface. By hitting generations of users with the same thing over and over. To train them to think that there was no alternative. Their solution to the blinking 12:00 on all those un-programmed VCRs was the DVD player.



    They milked that firmware advantage for all it was worth, but that cow is dead now.

    They haven't successfully transitioned to the next level.
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