Whenever quarterly results are announced, there are always going to be winners and losers, and so far the winners have been the likes of Samsung, who managed some of their best figures in years. One of the losers however, has to be Sony, but not in the way that you think. In their latest figures, for the period of April to June 2016, which Sony confusingly calls their "First Quarter" due to the way they file their earnings, Sony Mobile saw yet another sizeable drop in sales, but the company managed to avoid losing money on their mobile division, and many of you might be wondering how.
For some time now, Sony has vowed to streamline their mobile operations, and effectively limit the amount of work that the division is doing and also put an end to one device after another being releasing in a matter of months. This has led to a pretty quiet Sony Mobile during the second half of 2015 and much of 2016, too. What started off as streamlining, has effectively become an operation to shrink Sony Mobile, and it seems to have worked. Despite the fact that Sony Mobile saw a fall in sales of 33.7 percent over the previous year, the division's financials are in the black. During the period of April to June this year, Sony made just ¥185.9 billion ($1.76 Billion) from their mobile division, which contrasts against the ¥280.5 billion ($2.67 Billion) during the same period the previous year. This works out to Sony Mobile doing somewhere in the region of a third less business during the same period, which resulted in just $4 Million of profit in Q2 2016. This was down to the company selling just over 3 Million smartphones in a three-month period, and the profit that it received, could very well have been down to fluctuations in global currencies. The Japanese Yen, much like other currencies is susceptible to changes with the rest of the world's currencies and in Sony's own report they detail a "positive impact" to the tune of ¥4.4 billion.
For Sony, the mobile business is something that they need to be a part of, but it's not something that they feel they need to be successful in. The company has all but withdrawn from a number of more volatile markets around the world, and they're selling fewer models than they ever have been. It's a shame to see Sony's mobile division, which makes a lot of great smartphones, be shrunk down like this, but for Sony, selling smartphones seems more an exercise in promoting their brand than it does in making money.