Reports: Sony to slash another 1,000 jobs from smartphone biz

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 Bloomberg, which like other publications cited an unnamed source familiar with the matter, the cuts will affect Sony's operations in China, the UK and Sweden. The news was first reported by Japanese newspaper Nikkei, which did not cite any sources.

Reuters reported that a Sony spokeswoman declined to comment beyond reiterating the company's plans to disclose a new, medium-term business plan including restructuring by the end of its fiscal year at the end of March.

Sony has said it expects to ship 41 million smartphones in its current fiscal year, but that figure was cut from 43 million units in July and 50 million units in April. In late October, Sony booked an impairment charge on its mobile business of around $1.5 billion (¥176 billion).

Sony CFO Kenichiro Yoshida is ending the development of new smartphones for China and is cutting back on the number of new Xperia models Sony releases as the company struggles to compete with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung Electronics at the high end of the market, where Sony has been focusing since 2012. According to Bloomberg, the additional job cuts are needed to reach Sony's goal of reducing operating costs in the mobile business by 30 percent by March 2017.

Sony executives have telegraphed their focus on profitability for the mobile business at the expense of sales. "Our urgent task is to make the business profitable even if we face declines in sales by 20 percent or 30 percent," Hiroki Totoki, the recently appointed chief of Sony Mobile Communications, said in November, according to the Wall Street Journal

Earlier this month Reuters reported that Sony is considering radical moves like a sale of its mobile phone business after failing to resuscitate the unit. The report, which cited unnamed company officials familiar with the situation, 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.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Variety article
- see this FT article (sub. req.)

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