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Sony confirms plans to sell loss-making Vaio PC unit

Firm also announces 5,000 job cuts
Thu Feb 06 2014, 09:59
Sony Vaio T Series T13 ultrabook

JAPANESE HARDWARE MAKER Sony has confirmed yesterday's rumours, announcing plans to sell-off its Vaio brand as it struggles to compete in the eroding PC market.

The announcement came during Sony's fiscal third quarter financial results on Wednesday, in which the firm revealed that it's going to sell its PC business and Vaio brand to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) to stem further losses by the failing unit, and to focus on its mobile and tablet device lines.

According to recent statistics from IDC, Sony's share of the PC market fell to just 1.9 percent in the third quarter, down from 2.3 percent a year earlier.

Sony said, "Following a comprehensive analysis of factors, including the drastic changes in the global PC industry, Sony's overall business portfolio and strategy, the need for continued support of Sony's valued Vaio customers, and future employment opportunities for personnel involved in the Vaio business, the Company has determined that concentrating its mobile product lineup on smartphones and tablets and transferring its PC business to a new company established by JIP is the optimal solution."

Sony said that the deal should be done by the end of March, adding that as part of the business transfer it will no longer design or develop any further PC products.

The firm's TV business is struggling too, and Sony also revealed on Wednesday that it will split its TV arm into a separate unit by July 2014. The firm said that while losses from its TV business continue and are likely to continue for a while, it expects its high-end 4K and 2K televisions to turn the division's fortunes around.

The firm revealed more bad news during its earnings call, also announcing 5,000 job cuts, which will be spread across its ailing PC and TV units, by the end of 2014. 1,500 of these job cuts will be in Japan, while the others will be made internationally.

However, there was a glimmer of good news, thanks to Sony's Playstation 4 (PS4) games console. The firm said that it sold 4.2 million games consoles during the quarter and 9.7 million PS4 game titles, and said it saw a "dramatic increase" in Playstation Plus subscriptions during the quarter.

Sony's mobile division, which it promised to focus on more heavily given after selling its PC business, also performed well during the October to December quarter, with revenues from the unit up 45 percent year on year. µ


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