Sony knows that smartphones are integral parts of modern life and connect to many other consumer electronics and other connected devices, and for that reason alone, it is not going to get out of the smartphone business, according to a senior company executive.
Sony Mobile Communications CEO Hiroki Totoki said the company could change its smartphone prices and cut even more costs if needs be to counteract the U.S. dollar's rise in value against the yen. According to Reuters, he said that currency shifts are a bigger potential threat to the mobile unit's turnaround than the cutthroat competition in the smartphone industry.
With little fanfare, Sony unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z4, but in a sign of the company's more limited mobile ambitions Sony did not announce any details on international availability for the Z4 outside of Japan.
Sony is launching a new brand campaign to breathe life into its struggling mobile unit, according to a Sony executive. The comments come as Sony pulls back in the smartphone market, but indicate it is not exiting the market.
Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai confirmed that the company is willing to get out of the mobile phone business, although the electronics giant currently has no plans to do so. When asked about Sony's TV and mobile phone units during a presentation of Sony's latest turnaround strategy, Hirai said he would not "rule out considering an exit strategy," according to Reuters.
Sony confirmed it will cut another 1,100 employees from its Mobile Communications business, on top of the 1,000 job cuts it had already announced in that unit. The company, which disclosed the job cuts in conjunction with its quarterly earnings report, will prune the mobile division down to 5,000 employees by March 2016, a 28 percent cut to a unit that Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai said in the past would be a key element of the company's electronics business.
Sony plans to slash another 1,000 jobs from its smartphone unit amid a push to get back to profitability, according to multiple reports. The cuts would come on top of 1,000 layoffs Sony previously announced for its Sony Mobile Communications business. If the reports prove accurate, Sony will employ around 5,000 people in its smartphone business by March 2016.
According to a report from Reuters, Sony is now considering drastic actions like a sale of its mobile phone business, after failing to resuscitate the operation with a focus on high-end smartphones. The report noted that the company isn't currently considering any specific deals, but could implement a sale or strategic partnership on its struggling business units like its mobile phone division.
Sony is cutting the number of models in its smartphone lineup to boost profits in its mobile unit. The Japanese company acknowledges it has lost substantial ground to Samsung Electronics, Apple, Xiaomi, Lenovo and other market leaders.
Verizon Wireless will launch Sony Mobile Communications' Xperia Z3v smartphone, a variant of the smartphone maker's latest flagship Z3. The deal gives Sony a much-needed boost in a market where T-Mobile US has been its only real consistent carrier partner during the past few years.