Sony has no plans to leave the smartphone market and views that segment of its business as a necessary component to the business, according to recently reported statements made by CEO Kenichiro Yoshida. The executive went on to elaborate, commenting that stance is derived from the fact that smartphones serve as a first entry point for entertainment.
Since entertainment serves as a central focus point of Sony’s entire electronics business and, smartphones are a key element of that, they will remain an integral part of its business strategy, the executive says.
A response to investor backlash?
The comments from Sony executive come amid backlash from investors, following reports that the company plans to completely scale back on mobile production, effectively leaving the wider world stage. Sony had begun making cuts to its mobile division several months back and those became more apparent in late April, as speculation began to rise about the impending launch of a new game console — the PlayStation 5.
PlayStation isn't the company's only gaming focus, according to recent reports, with the company looking to bring all of its properties to bear in its smartphones.
For example, the recently launched Sony Xperia 1 kicked that off by showcasing the beginnings of an array of improvements to smartphones that could be achieved in both display and camera technology. Each of those improvements came from cross-unit cooperation at Sony, with the company bringing in its film and imaging units to make the handset better. That had previously been made impossible thanks to a deep separation between the company's divisions.
Those are the types of improvements the company hopes to continue making thanks to shuffles in the management of the above-mentioned units, according to Sony's CEO, in pursuit of market share gains and a return to profitability. Gaming will reportedly play a big role in that endeavor.
Sony hopes to cut costs to further that goal as well. As of the end of the fiscal year ending in March, the company's mobile unit was also down by around $879.45 million. That led to a financial and business strategy conference at which the company effectively pulled out of all but four regions including Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Most other regions are completely out of scope for Sony, as per the laid out plans.
The run of events ultimately led to some investors calling for Sony to leave the mobile arena completely in order to redouble efforts elsewhere.
What do the new strategy and response mean for Sony
Based on the more recent remarks from Sony leadership and the abovementioned strategy report for 2019, Sony's approach effectively seems to be reliant on refining cross-unit smartphone development and refinement of sales strategies in general. By continuing to move mobile devices in vital sales regions and rebuild brand recognition around the premium end of the market, Sony appears to be betting it can relaunch its handsets globally from a stronger footing later on.
Whether or not that's something Sony can pull off in order to better compete against top contenders and dominating forces in the Android market such as Huawei and Samsung remains to be seen. Regardless, the company plans to return to financial stability in its mobile division by the end of 2020.