For a while I thought they have really rebounded...the revenues from asset sale cant be counted.
" It generates most of its profits from its financial services company (Sony-Finance), which sells life insurances and credit cards in Japan"
interesting.. I never knew Sony was into selling financial services.
The lack of focus is killing Sony Electronics.. too many products. none blockbuster , maybe except playstation.
Sony lost it's way in the same sense that other Japanese companies did. They allowed tenure to rule all levels of management. The key young people left, assuming they ever would work at a Japanese multinational in the first place.
As an American who was at a Japanese sub in the US (before I knew better), the problems were painfully obvious. The Japanese nationals fell into two columns - A. Those who loved the US because they could shop/golf to there heart's content and B. Ladder -climbing gamesmen who confused long hours with innovative work. The Americans employees were generally people who could not get jobs at any decent US company or were in retirement-on-the-job mode. Just kowtowed to the Japanese managers and collected their pay.
There seemed to be no sense of business. If a product was failing in the market, it was not polite to say so. If a manager was inept or incompetent, there was not effort to fix the problem.
What is sad is that the businesses build from essentially nothing after WWII were allowed to collapse.
Sometimes a company has to consolidate out a bit and redefine core focus before it can set out again with a purpose. Seems like the first half of that mission has been accomplished, now do they have the staff,drive, and leadership to go out and innovate again ? Gotta think that renewable energy, fuel cells, etc... would be a good target market for them if they still have the engineers and scientists to do some innovation.
Has ANYONE taken notice of their Alpha and NEX cameras? They have redefined expectations in the market and wowed reviewers. They are even churning-out (superior) full-frame CMOS sensors for Nikon. In that market they were a nobody. Now Canon, Nikon, Fuji AND Samsung are playing catch-up. Just sayin.
I agree. Especially, Sony's CMOS image sensor is a key contributor to Sony's operating income, listed above, as "device."
Sony's digital cameras are also getting good reviews. Details of what Sony has got are listed here:
I have an NEX and it is good under the right conditions although the software/interface is a pain. When the opportunity was right, Apple should have bought Sony (or perhaps Sony should have bought Apple) to integrate OS X/iOS into Sony's fine hardware. If Apple had bought Sony early on, they would have prevented Sony making Android devices too!
I think the problem is not with Sony, but with the public. No one buys quality products anymore.
For instance, who buys high-end cameras or home stereos anymore? It seems everyone is satisfied with the mediocre performance of a smartphone camera or mp3 player.
I have a high-end digital camera that takes Hi-def pictures that I show on a large-screen TV. A smartphone camera just wouldn't cut it. Just the lenses on my camera are a big as the whole smartphone so there's no way a tiny one-quarter inch lens is going to provide that kind of color rendition and resolution.
I understand the portability of an mp3 player, but to me, nothing beats my Sony 200 Watt Stereo Receiver pushing a pair of Bose speakers.
The problem is, the public is not really interested in this stuff anymore. I just bought a Sony Hi-Def HandyCAM and it provides unbelievable videos on my Wide-Screen TV.
But my kids could care less. They are happy with the grainy videos they get on their smartphones.
It's a different world out there. Sony is providing a quality product that the public just doesn't get excited about any more.
What a shame, not for Sony, but for the public.
They don't know what they are missing.
Maybe because not many enthusiast or hardcore electronic hardware loving type of peoples today that love to collect high tech gadget that offer very finest and highest quality experience whether its picture or sound or function etc.
Plus this day everything is about fast, simple, well function, and easy to use products where most of this public searching and need for. Not to say there are no longer peoples with enthusiastic like you that appreciate quality and true function of every electronic stuff. But that is the reality today.
For Sony they still making high quality, sophisticated and very high engineering product like home theater, hi-fi, camera etc and same for the other Japanese electronic companies like Panasonic, Pioneer, Toshiba, Yamaha, Nikon etc. They will continue to do so as they know there still many true gadget lover out there. Thanks.
Bob, iMacs are a quality product and people are buying them, even though they are pricey.
Problem is with Sony not the public.
Yes, there are cheap knock offs now compared to 10 years ago. Sony should think of ways to reduce cost and stay in the market or risk going into oblivion.
Even their newer smart phones are expensive.
I also want to chime in on the "who buys high-end cameras or home stereos anymore?" I do! And I also appreciate high-quality displays.
Every consumer purchasing decision involves a cost vs. performance tradeoff. Not every consumer is willing to pay for the best of the best, but that doesn't mean he doesn't appreciate the quality or performance that puts that product at the top. Likewise, most consumers don't simply go for the lowest price and ignore poor quality or performance or lack of features.
Sony's reputation in consumer electronics -- justified or not -- was always one of high quality, innovative products. I would love to see them reinvigorate that focus on higher end CE products. They will never beat the Koreans in a price war, so they should focus on making higher end products that consumers will perceive as being worth the extra money.
In fact, with the rapid development of technology, the public want to frequently have new experience, so cheaper product is more appealing to them. But there are still many people focusing on quality. I think Sony's failure is mainly due to its wrong operation, market position...
Junko, your story headline brings a sense of nostalgia and melancholy! In the early 2000's, I used to live 5 minutes away from Sony's plant in Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego and always wanted to work there.
More than a decade and a half ago when I started working in semiconductor backend and packaging, Sony's handbook on quality and reliability was the best one (along with the Intel's). It is a sad state today to see where the giant is.
Here is the link to Sony Semiconductor Quality and Reliability handbook:
I hope this is a metamorphic phase for the one-time electronic giant. My hopes are for an emerging butterfly that flutters its wings globally to bring new products and solutions.
I have been looking into the success of Sony in the 80s' and 90s', the missing of opportunity. I have as well studied Samsung.
We seem to come to the era of Korea success. From Electronics product to media product, Korean's seems to be leading everyone. There must be a Samsung or LG product in any household. Who doesn't know Gangnam Style? Korean drama are more popular in Asian market than Japanese drama. What really has changed? More importantly, what can turn around the table?
There is very little debate of the quality that Sony products deliver. The picture quality of Sony's HDTV and the 4K TV is exceptional. I don't think Korean brands are right up there. Yet, Samsung and LG offer extreme competitive pricing. In short, the quality price ratio of Samsung TV might just be better than Sony's TV.
So, what is lacking in Sony's product? Maybe, Sony had succeeded because of high quality and failed because of quality.
On the other hands, the new age seems to favor younger companies. How many old brand are struggling - Sony, Nokia and to name in just a few? The question comes down to what an "old" company can do to renovate itself to become a new trend?
I would like to put a little damper on Sony quality reputation. I have several of their products where various components failed in time (intermittent contacts) and what's worse Sony does not support them any more - no parts are available. The worst case is their 50" LCD projection TV KDF-E50A10. The optical block in it failed resulting in distorted colours. Internet search revealed it was a common occurrence and consumers filed a class action suit against Sony, who only reluctantly agreed to "repair" few sets. What's more, the repair consisted of installing the same part which subsequently failed again!
I agree with you George. I had same experience with Sony LCD TV's and other gadgets a few years back and I'm not buying Sony products anymore since those incidents. Then Sony to me was a quality brand demanding premium price and I was willing to pay for that quality but since that incidents, my perception about Sony has changed dramatically. Somehow Sony has failed to keep up the quality of their products and lost market shares to Samsung and LG. I think it was a general management issues at Sony precipitated to working levels. It still remains.....
Apple was in a worse position before Steve Job’s come-back than Sony is today. Where is Japan’s “Steve Jobs”? Sony does not necessarily always understand markets and users. One example, I had a very bad experience with Sony Bravia TV. It’s supposed to take JPG photos from a USB drive and share with family and friends. But you know what, it only works with a very limited subset of JPG format. It won’t work if the photo is touched by Photoshop and saved as progressive JPG (as opposed to baseline) and it won’t work if the photo is compressed as “chroma444” like Photoshop does (as opposed to chroma422). It looks as if Sony never thought about that people may use photo-editing software of all sorts on their pictures. The end-result is a frustrated and disappointed user experience.
The big issue is that the Koreans CURRENTLY own display, memory and processor design and production, therefore, to use youthful vernacular, have the rest of the industry by their dangly bits.
Until the A series processors, Apple were simply an industrial design and software house, same position Sony are in today, ironically! To get back in control Apple created their own processors, although are still in the hands of display vendors.
Sony will need to go back to their roots, or resort to the easy option that Sega chose, and become a content publisher. In fact, they already are!
And don't forget Panasonic too, who make superb hardware, yet just announced huge losses.
Both companies will need to invest in next generation display and processor technology else always be playing catchup with Korea, and soon, China!
By the time Sony starts to catch up with Samsung in smartphone business, it will be because the smartphone industry has passed its peak and starts to become dominated by Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE.
It is really in a difficult position now. Even if it wants to cut more, it will be difficult to do so because of cultural constraint as Japanese companies typically loathe to layoff people.
The innovation is the only option to get ahead. The innovation not only in technology but also in cost savings in manufacturing and materials, business models, flexibility, productivity and not least human capital. I believe Japan can still innovate technology but not in other areas such as business models, flexibility and human capital. The Japanese society as a whole won't adapt to business models requires social/mental changes. For them it's hard to accept different values/solutions to their cultural norm.
Yes, I agree with you.
Japan is still a leader in technology innovation, which can be shown from the competitive cooperation with Sharp by world-famous companies, such as Samsung, Qualcomm...
But Japan is difficult to adopt new business mode; and they focus much on protecting their advanced technology but less fusion of different elements.