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Sony Says Will ‘Never Sell or Exit Mobile Business’

Ever since Sony announced the sale of its Vaio PC business last year, rumours about the company considering selling its smartphone business have been floating on the Internet. Sony’s Kazuo Hirai fuelled speculation earlier this year, when he outlined a strategy that hinted that the company might exit the smartphone business. Hirai back in February even had revealed that Sony doesn’t expect sales growth in areas such as smartphones where it has suffered competition from Asian rivals offering affordable options.

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Putting an end to all such speculations, Sony’s Hiroki Totoki, the Chief Executive Officer and President of Sony Mobile Communications of Sony Corporation of America, in an interview has clarified saying that the company will never sell or exit the “current mobile business”.

Talking to Arabian Business, Totoki stressed that Sony is currently working to turn fortunes of its smartphone business. “We are trying to decrease our costs by 30 percent to the end of 2016, and reduce our headcount by 20 percent,” he said.

Totoki revealed that after Sony sold the Vaio business, rumours about selling the smartphone unit emerged on the Internet. He said, “We exited the Vaio business, which was the PC business. That led people to think that Sony would exit the smartphone business, as well. But the smartphone business is very different from PCs.”

Clarifying the company’s instance on selling the smartphone business, Totoki explained, “Smartphones are completely connected to other devices, also connected to people’s lives – deeply. And the opportunity for diversification is huge. We’re heading to the IoT (Internet of Things) era and have to produce a number of new categories of products in this world, otherwise we could lose out on a very important business domain. In that sense we will never ever sell or exit from the current mobile business.”

Outlining some of the factors Sony is working on, Totoki added, “We are trying to streamline the organisation as well as our product portfolio to maximise our profitability and improve our ROI.”

Talking about 2015, Totoki said, “We have set out our plan already and are just starting to execute it. This year, 2015, is a year of big transformation, and we will try to complete this transformation by the end of the year, and hopefully see an improvement in financial performance in 2016.”

Totoki also talked about the wearable segment and how the company has been making progress towards the Internet of Things (IOT) era. “We’ve got a good feel for the technology and we’re not limited to the smartwatch. We include smart wear, smart products, and smart devices, and there are many more things now being made for the IoT (Internet of Things) era,” he noted.


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