Sony to axe 1,000 mobile jobs, move HQ from Sweden to Japan

Sony said it will cut 15 percent of the workforce of Sony Mobile Communications, or around 1,000 jobs, and will move its global mobile headquarters from Lund, Sweden, to Tokyo. The shift is part of Sony's renewed emphasis on smartphones and integrating them with other Sony products and content offerings.

The job cuts and restructuring represent the first major shift Sony has made since finalizing its $1.47 billion purchase of Ericsson's (NASDAQ:ERIC) 50 percent stake in their decade-old Sony Ericsson joint handset venture. In a statement, Sony said the changes will allow Sony Mobile to improve "time to market efficiency, streamline supply chain management and drive greater integration with the wider Sony group." The job cuts will take place between now and March 2014.

The cuts come as Sony is trying to use its Xperia-branded Android smartphones as one of the pieces of a revived corporate strategy. Earlier this spring Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai said he would use Sony's strength in smartphones to rebuild the ailing company. Specifically, Sony said it will grow its Xperia line of smartphones and other mobile devices, including tablets, to $22 billion in three years, triple its current size. According to ABI Research, Sony Mobile was the eleventh-largest handset maker in the world in the second quarter with 2 percent market share.

Sony has been battered during the past several quarters thanks to its unprofitable television business. The company announced earlier this year that it will cut 10,000 jobs.

"We are accelerating the integration and convergence with the wider Sony group to continue enhancing our offerings, and a more focused and efficient operational structure will help to reduce Sony Mobile's costs, enhance time to market efficiency and bring the business back to a place of strength," Hirai said in a statement.

In addition to the shift in strategy, the job cuts also reflect the reality that Sony will move away from Sweden, Ericsson's home base, to be closer to Sony headquarters in Japan. A total of 650 jobs will be cut from the Lund site and the rest will primarily be consultants in Sweden.

For more:
- see this release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this AFP article

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