Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai has delivered a good bit of bad news to fans of the Sony Xperia smartphone line: the company will no longer focus on the smartphone, or TV industry in the future. Instead, Hirai emphasized the pull the company has when it comes to consoles, proven by the massive PlayStation 4 sales in the last quarter of 2014 and in the first two months of 2015. Apparently, the company is aiming for a 25 % increase in profits for 2015, which in CEO Hirai’s opinion can’t be done if Sony keeps splitting its attention towards so various industries. According to Reuters, Sony will slowly move out of the smartphone and TV market this year, which would explain why we haven’t heard anything official about the new Xperia Z4 line-up. Even though many expect the Xperia Z4 and its Compact, Ultra and Tablet versions to show up at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain next month, it seems the company will be adopting a one-year release cycle for their smartphones before scraping their projects entirely.
Hirai pinpointed Apple, Samsung and unnamed Chinese companies, most likely Xiaomi, as the main competitors to Sony’s smartphone offering and the reason why Xperia sales have plummeted in the past year. Instead of focusing on smartphones and TVs, Hirai thinks that the company should turn its attention towards the branches that have been a constant source of profit: consoles and camera sensors. “The strategy starting from the next business year will be about generating profit and investing for growth,” Hirai told Reuters. The somber businessman is now considering an exit strategy for the company, which would suggest that Sony might consider selling their smartphone and TV branches, which pegs the question of who would want to get in on that? The above quote from Kazuo Hirai stands as proof that the company is planning to either sell their smartphone branch or partner up with another company in order to create something that would generate profit, instead of loss.
With these statements from Sony CEO in mind, we can now understand what the downsizing within the company last year was amounting to. Sony sacked a lot of its staff and started a restructuring process across the company, which has paid off in market share value, according to Reuters. Hirai’s opinion and conviction is that Sony should start focusing much more on their console business, in order to attract more PlayStation users to counter Microsoft. At the same time, the company will start delving into the music streaming business, which would be an interesting endeavor we are looking forward to seeing.
Even though the Sony Xperia Z3 line-up was a rather successful launch, it still didn’t generate the profits the company had hoped before. There are many fans of Xperia devices out there, but it seems their number isn’t high enough to generate considerable profit for the company. In my honest opinion, the best course of action would not be selling the smartphone division altogether, but partnering up with a company that would help the Xperia line get back on track, much like John Chen did with BlackBerry. There should be more information made available officially when Sony makes their revenue report public after the closure of the financial year on March 31st. Let’s hope for the best!
As an end-note, Hirai’s statements pretty much debunk all the rumors about the Xperia Z4 making an appearance at the MWC 2015 next month. Instead, Sony will most likely demo their new augmented reality wearable product, the SmartEyeglass. The smart glasses will be directly competing against Google Glass and will offer an augmented reality feature like none other. The glasses are already up for pre-order on their dedicated website, but they are rather expensive at $840 for the developer kit.