Smartphone business indispensable to brand portfolio: Sony CEO

A visitor tests a Sony Xperia 10 smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 27, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 22 May 2019
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Smartphone business indispensable to brand portfolio: Sony CEO

  • Sony’s smartphone business reported an operating loss of ¥97.1 billion ($879.45 million) in the year ended March
  • Sony is beefing up gaming functions of its smartphones to tap customers of its successful PlayStation gaming business

TOKYO: Sony sees the smartphone business as indispensable to its brand portfolio, its CEO said, bucking calls from some investors that the Japanese electronics firm should scrap the money-losing business.
The smartphone business reported an operating loss of ¥97.1 billion ($879.45 million) in the year ended March, lagging rivals such as Apple and Samsung Electronics and weighing on the group’s record-breaking profit.
Sony’s consumer electronics hardware business “has centered on entertainment since our foundation, not daily necessities like refrigerators and washing machines,” Kenichiro Yoshida told a group of journalists on Wednesday.
“We see smartphones as hardware for entertainment and a component necessary to make our hardware brand sustainable,” he said. “And younger generations no longer watch TV. Their first touch point is smartphone.”
The business, originally a joint venture with Sweden’s Ericsson that Sony took full control of in 2012, has a global market share of less than 1 percent, shipping just 6.5 million handsets annually, mainly to Japan and Europe, according to Sony’s financial statement.
As Sony aims to make the business profitable next financial year, it ceased production at its Beijing plant and streamlined some sales operations globally.
Sony is beefing up gaming functions of its smartphones to tap customers of its successful PlayStation gaming business.
Yoshida also said he is confident in improving profitability at the pictures business.
Separately, Reuters reported Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point is again building a stake in the company, as part of its second campaign for change at Sony in six years.
Third Point wants Sony to explore options for some of its business units, including its movie studio, which the fund believes has attracted takeover interest, people familiar with the matter previously said.
“It was good that in the past Third Point came in and we had various discussions on the pictures business,” Yoshida said. Sony has sharply improved disclosures of the pictures business since then, he said.
The management team of the pictures unit has been “reshuffled almost entirely over the last three or four years,” Yoshida said.


What We Are Reading Today: Yale Needs Women by Anne Gardiner Perkins

Updated 21 September 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Yale Needs Women by Anne Gardiner Perkins

  • The book is a historical novel based on the first females that were accepted and lived on campus at Yale

Yale Needs Women by Anne Gardiner Perkins is a historical novel based on the first females that were accepted and lived on campus at Yale starting the summer term of 1969.

“This is an academic work although written in a very accessible style for the average reader,” said a review in goodreads.com.

It said the book “started as a graduate paper and morphed into a dissertation over time.”

The review also said Perkins “really allows readers into the lives of several of the students and one administrator in particular.”

It said the author “straddles the line nicely between fitting in the comprehensive detailed research she managed and making it interesting enough that someone mighty think it was a novel.”

Perkins grew up in Baltimore and attended Yale University, where she earned her BA in history and was the first woman editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News. 

She has spent her life in education, from urban high school teacher to elected school committee member. 

She has presented papers on higher education at leading conferences.

Although Yale Needs Women’s principal focus is on, well, women at Yale, Perkins also weaves in a lot of events that were also happening at the time and impacted Yale life, such at the Black Panther movement and the Vietnam War.