Sony just put out their third quarter earnings call for 2016, and it seems that their mobile business has taken a roughly 35% nosedive from where it was during the same period in 2015. The fall took Sony's third quarter mobile numbers from ¥384.5 billion to ¥248.6 billion. Operating income for the division, meanwhile, fell about 12% from ¥24.1 billion to ¥21.2 billion. According to Sony, the huge drop in total sales and operating revenue was mainly due to decreased smartphone sales in a few key regions, such as Europe, as well as regions where Sony was forced to downsize. The huge deficit was enough to overcome all of Sony's attempts at cost-cutting and otherwise throwing cash at their smartphone operations, thus the 12% decrease in operating income.
Sony's mobile division is not the only part of the company to post a loss, but it did take the biggest hit. Sony Pictures saw a 14% year on year drop for the quarter. Sony has refuted previous whisperings that they were planning on exiting the smartphone market, and even seem to be doubling down recently. It should be noted that these fairly grim third quarter figures were barely grazed by the debut of the Xperia XZ on September 30th, which means that the flagship had a fair chance to pull Sony Mobile's Q4 up significantly on the back of the sales boom it experienced in the wake of Samsung's troubles with their own flagship, the Galaxy Note 7, and its fairly disastrous recall.
Another good note among a fairly dismal quarter for Sony's mobile division was the fact that they did not hemorrhage the most money of any division to have posted a loss; that honor belongs to Sony Pictures. Massive worldwide downsizing measures were responsible for making Sony's adventures in the smartphone world a small enough enterprise to not lose a huge amount of money, which makes the bittersweet news that much more so. Just as rumors swirled of a possible sale of Sony Mobile in the wake of bad performance last year, word on the street is that Sony Pictures may soon be unloaded. The departure of CEO Michael Lynton seems to corroborate this, but Sony denies it for the time being, again mirroring the fate of Sony Mobile. A number of upcoming Sony smartphones seem to have broken cover lately, so whatever else may be going on, Sony is not throwing the towel into the mobile arena right now.