Sony Heading In New Direction After 37,000 Jobs Axed
Sony Australia, is heading in a new direction after five years of turbulence that saw hundreds laid off including the CEO of both the Companies gaming and consumer electronics divisions, today the Sony Corporation will announce their latest results with an investor conference set to kick off mid-morning.
Operating from a new head office in North Sydney the Australian Company who will shortly roll out a new OLED TV that delivers sound via the screen has increased their share of the sound market while expanding their Pro sound offering.
Last week the Company revealed a new $31,000 VPL-VZ1000ES short throw projector that can be positioned as close as six inches from the wall and yet still project an image up to 100 inches in size.
According to the global CEO of the Company Kazuo Hirai their future is all about innovation and the development of new core technology.
During the past five years Sony has slashed their headcount by 37,400 to 125,300 employees. The Companies share value has more than doubled since Hirai was appointed in 2012 which was when Sony Australia was started to disintegrate.
Former Sony Australia PR executive Jenny Geddes who is now spruiking charities, resorted to threatening journalists who wrote about the Companies decline.She was backed up by Hausmann Communications who has since been sacked from the main Sony PR business in Australia.
What Hirai has done during the past five years is pull focus on the business, in Australia it resulted in a major rationalisation of the Companies product portfolios, a move out of large offices in North Ryde, the outsourcing of their logistics operation and the culling of staff and marketing expenditure.
At a global Hirai, slashed costs in everything from televisions to smartphones while retreating from unprofitable businesses.
He also doubled-down on more research and development, a move that’s resulted in “fewer and better products,” according to Macquarie Capital analyst Damian Thong.
He also offloaded the Companies Vaio PC division.
A big contributor has been the dominance of PlayStation 4. After losing to Nintendo in the previous cycle of game consoles, Hirai oversaw the launch of the PS4 which outsold competitors and became a bedrock for the company’s lucrative online gaming subscription service.
Still, not everything has gone well. In Australia Sony’s smartphone business is struggling with their smartphones having little chance of reclaiming past market share following a slump two years ago in market share.
In the first quarter of 2015, shortly after John Featherstone the former MD quit Sony Mobile Communications Australia to take on a senior Sony role in Asia the struggling Japanese brand had sales for the quarter of 62,000 units, this was not good, compared to the million plus sales for Apple 800,000+ sales for Samsung and the 150,000 units sold by Chinese brand Alcatel.
Under Featherstone’s management from Asia where he has a regional role, Sony smartphone sales slumped to just 7,000 units despite the Japanese Company rolling out their all singing all dancing Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact and the bigger Xperia Z5 Premium in the last quarter of 2015.
Macquarie’s Thong says there are three things to look for at Sony going forward: whether it can boost online subscriptions beyond games to movies and music, what partnerships it strikes to develop new films and intellectual property and how it progresses with connected computing devices or the so-called Internet of Things.
At a retail level, new packaging of their headphone and sound offerings and the expansion of their consumer electronics range has seen retailers move to giving Sony prominence in their stores.
According to JB HI Fi Sony is today a cornerstone brand across both sound, gaming, and display.