The time seems to have gone when there were ruling parties of the smartphone world. While the likes of Samsung and LG are still pulling in the big numbers and bringing to market smartphones which are substantial in their presence, there are companies like BlackBerry, HTC and Sony who seem to be enduring a sustained issue with their smartphone hardware market position. BlackBerry has tried to mitigate this by focusing more on the software side of things, as well as releasing a smartphone running on Android. While HTC has looked to virtual reality and their high-profile Vive headset to reverse their fortunes. In Sony’s case, the bigger picture seems to be far more unclear.
In fact, one trend when has developed with Sony over the last few years is their perceived avoidance of the U.S. market. Part of this seems to be the straining of relationships with U.S. carriers combined with their latest smartphones coming to the U.S. significantly later than they should. The Sony Xperia Z5 range being a case in point, with its U.S. availability commencing months after the range launched elsewhere. It is possible that the second issue is a direct result of the first issue, but either way it seems unclear what Sony is doing to rectify the situation.
Well, a report from Re/Code today is suggesting that Sony has already made some significant changes behind the scenes to their U.S. unit over the last few months. The first being that they have upped and relocated their entire U.S. mobile operations from Atlanta to San Francisco. A move which has said to have resulted in an unspecified number of layoffs within the company. In contrast to Kunihiko Shiomi, who is said to have been promoted from Head of U.S. Development to the President of U.S. Sony Mobile, at the expense of former head, Ravi Nookala, who is now working elsewhere. At the moment it seems unclear as to what are the motives behind such significant infrastructure changes, although it is likely that this will be perceived as a downsizing of sorts. As well as likely to be an aspect which continues to fuel rumors that Sony could be preparing to exit the U.S., smartphone market altoegther.