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Sony Finally Admits To Smartphone Exit Senior Management Dumped

Sony Mobile management has finally admitted that they have been forced to quit the Australian smartphone market after we exclusively revealed in July 2018 that an exit was on the cards.

John Featherstone right with Sony management.

Also out is John Featherstone the former head of Sony Mobile, who refused to comment to ChannelNews both in July and earlier this year after we revealed the Companies exit plans.

We Buchan, the public relations agency used by Sony for promoting its handsets, told The Australian that it no longer represented Sony and referred us to a Sony company contact to discuss the future of its handset plans.

Sony Mobile has been a disaster business in Australia for several years with consumers rejecting the Companies handsets because of poor design, and constant support problems. At one stage the Japanese Company was forced to fix hundreds of their Xperia handsets after the so-called waterproof devices leaked

This week The Australian newspaper finally cottoned on to what ChannelNews has been telling the market for nearly 9 months. They asked Sony to confirm whether it would bring its new Xperia One handset to Australia and to clarify the future of Sony Mobile here.

In response, Sony Mobile would only clarify a commitment to ongoing customer support.

“At this stage there is no confirmed Australian launch date for the Xperia 1,” Sony Mobile said in a statement.

“We have downsized our sales activities in Australia as a part of our area strategy, but we are committed to continuing customer support operations.

“Going forward, we will carefully assess if there are opportunities to enter into open market channels which are expanding in some of our territories,” Sony Mobile said.

The CEO of research group Telsyte Foad Fadaghi said he wouldn’t be surprised if Sony “or other players in the long tail of manufacturers” decided it wasn’t worth staying in such a small market as Australia.

Mr Fadaghi said the “long tail” was manufacturers apart from Apple and Samsung. “The Australian smartphone market has been dominated by Apple and Samsung for a number of years now,” Mr Fadaghi said.

“That’s left a very small portion of the market left for all the other players, including ones that are on an upward trajectory like Chinese handset manufacturers and so forth, as well as others that might have found it difficult over the last few years, which include HTC, Sony, LG and others.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if some of those players that were part of the long tail might reconsider their efforts in Australia.”

Mr Fadaghi said Sony had produced good quality smartphones and he believed the company marketed them adequately. But he said it was difficult for manufacturers to sustain a market in Australia, especially when they produced premium handsets and didn’t service the mid-range or lower end of the smartphone market.

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