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Sony is forecasting a 220 billion yen loss for fiscal 2011, its 4th straight year of red ink despite massive cost cuts and restructuring efforts in recent years. What do you think are the main reasons


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It all started with the betamax

0 ( +1 / -1 )

3.11 nuclear/tsunami disaster, floods in Thailand and ofcourse Strong Yen ! true? i don't know but this is what is reported for any business failure/decline in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've never had any trouble with Sony products and I have been using them since the 1970s. I think their trouble started after Akio Morita left the helm, and due to some risky choices. Betamax's defeat to VHS was a big blow. I had a Betamax and I still say to this day that the quality was better than VHS.

Probably, in the end, Sony's decline comes down to no longer making innovative products and no longer staying ahead of the curve. These things go in cycles. Right now, Apple gets all the glory, but maybe in 10 years time, Sony will reemerge. Who knows?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Samsung. LG.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They lost their edge on innovative, new products and they abused their brand by pricing it too high in comparison to similar products. Additionally, I think they also price their patented or proprietary formats out of reach so it never becomes mainstream (memory, betamax, etc, etc.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Overrated, overpriced. Period. Consumers a becoming more tech-savvy and finding out that it's just a name. Having security issues on their PSN wouldn't help I think. Happy to see them get taken down a a few notches. Corporate bullies imo.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Arrogance and refusal to integrate.

They assumed people would continue to pay for the Sony brand even when the CDs they produced wouldn't play on the computers/iPods people wanted to listen to them on (ended up returning the CDs to the shop for a refund), when files recorded on Sony voice recorders had to be processed to death to get them to play on free software with a big drop in sound quality and not always even then, when DVDs recorded on Sony equipment will not play back on non-Sony equipment even though the manual says they will (Ask customer support for help and they say 'ask the person who recorded the DVD.' Very helpful I don't think).

I used to search out Sony products for the quality, now I avoid them because they're not compatible with the other stuff I need to use them with.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well said Cleo - and I feel exactly the same. After dealing with a Sony Viao years ago, I have never ever bought another Sony product - and never will again.

Who was the nut on here who was going on about how Japanese companies rule in tech and whatnot??

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Who was the nut on here who was going on about how Japanese companies rule in tech and whatnot??

I said advanced manufacturing, which clearly went over your head.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Sony has had really poor management for the past decade. As Sun Tzu would say, "If he prepares to defend many places, then the forces will be few in number." Sony tried to protect what it built up and thus could only divert so many resources into technologies which really matter in the future. Sony focused too heavily on the highly profitable CRT television sets and was late to jump onto flat screens and milked the massively popular PS2 to inflate their profits. Instead of innovating ahead, they made their products incompatible with other computing products and charged ridiculous prices, not to mention their root-kit incident which unashamedly spied on consumers. Samsung in the beginning, believe it or not, had very little power in its television sales. However, the company made massive strides in its telephone segments, until it hit big with its smartphones. Using the massive profits generated from phones and aggressive emerging markets sales, Samsung cross subsidizes the sale of its products in developed countries, undercutting traditional consumer electronic powerhouses. All in all, Samsung had a great strategy and a empowered and motivated workforce to implement their vision. Sony on the other hand chose a foreign CEO who is clearly not knowledgeable about the field of technology. He was good at cutting costs and improving the the entertainment sector (Sony pictures) but failed to understand the necessities of innovation and technology. The new CEO Kaz Hirai, in my modest opinion, is a great replacement. He is creative, charismatic, ambitious, and can see the marketplace in broader perspective. His experience in turning the PS3 around is borderline miracle and his next big challenge will be tackling the loss making TV sector. If Sony is to make it, Mr. Hirai will be the one to lead the way.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When Mac OS9 was out, it sucked, and that is the only time I switched to Windows.

It was a SONY laptop. 2 DVDR's died, one screen, 2 hard drives, and one battery in less than a year died. What the heck is that? I tossed it in the garbage, and got a mac. Would take Yodobashi camera months to get it fixed. They kept moving the warranty up.

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I said advanced manufacturing, which clearly went over your head.

So everything Sony makes is not? Glad you can admit that. Hence the comments on the other thread.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If Sony is to make it, Mr. Hirai will be the one to lead the way.

nihoncritic -- agree. But IMO, that is a mighty BIG "if". Especially since they have no really dominant products/segments on a world-wide basis to be the fiundation for the turnaround. Virtually every part of their business has become second-rate. And, respectfully, that is not Stringer's fault. Hirai and others were responsible for the day-to-day managing of the divisions, including developing new products.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

some14some: What you said plus weaker sales and a payment of something like $700 million to end a LCD venture with Samsung.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So everything Sony makes is not? Glad you can admit that. Hence the comments on the other thread.

All these companies rely on the producer goods than Japan has monopolised, whether it's declining Sony or soaring Samsung.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Sony products for me have been hit and miss. I have a Sony universal remote that is very sweet. And I have a Sony portable MD player I bought brand new that is a piece of crap. I literally fished a different Sony portable MD player out of the trash that works better than the other.

But the last straw was creating and winning the hi-def DVD wars forcing everyone into their proprietary blu-ray and driving up prices. I now only buy Sony if I literally have no other option, as I did with the remote. My house is filled with Toshiba products, but only for avoiding Sony and heavily testing everything before I buy and nothing to do with the name. I am never brand loyal, but I can be very brand disloyal. Sony is on my do-not-buy list.

Sony may have learned a lesson from the VHS/Betamax war, but they learned it too well.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Virtually every part of their business has become second-rate. And, respectfully, that is not Stringer's fault.


When every part of the their business has become second rate under his/her helm, it's not the fault of a CEO. You have just redefined the role of a CEO.

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Could it have been sabotage? In short, I have seen with my own eyes Japanese employees working for non-Japanese bosses/companies and absolutely despise their bosses. Was baffling to me why a Japanese person took the job in the first place. Anyway, could the resentment toward Stringer have been so bad that the general employees/managers of Sony just didn't care about creativity or QC anymore?

Just a theory.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Could be Godan. Sadly, I wouldn't be shocked if this was the case.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Godan: Seriously?

I am sure there were some people at Sony in the beginning who were unhappy about Stringer's appointment. But do you really think Taro working down in Tech Design really cares about whether the head of the company is foreign or Japanese?

It seems as if you are just making excuses for Stringer. It is not all his fault, but things have not improved under his leadership.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


Not making excuses for Stringer, so much as just posing a theory. But I have seen some seriously angry Japanese people working in foreign firms and it just seemed that they couldn't stand working for/under non-Japanese. Heck even applied to the having to learn English. Have seen an anonymous comment or two that said they'd quit the company if they had to study/improve/learn any English. That was very sad and odd thing coming from someone who had entered a Japanese firm with a global presence. Maybe it was just a few disgruntled employees? Don't know. Just wonder if anyone else has experienced this or observed this?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I only buy Sony products as I find they are the best ... at least for me. They last a long time ... and when I discard them I usually do so to get the latest model which has all the latest gadgets in it. Right now I am typing this on a Sony Vaio, a great machine that I've now had for nearly three years.

I tend to buy the latest Sony models, then when I return to the same shop where I bought it several months later I find that the price has been greatly reduced. Seems as if they are cutting prices to keep up with the competition, which is selling at much cheaper prices. Happens all the time. So guess Sony is taking a big loss here.

So Sony must get its act together and figure out how to make profits with its products. It has been going downhill for several years now, long before the March 11 quake hit last year. It is now getting a new president who reportedly has a lot of savvy, so hopefully he can turn things around and get Sony moving in the right direction again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its not just Sony that is reporting losses, Sharp, Hitachi, Panasonic, Olympus. These were once household names. I am seriously worried for Japan even when oginome thinks its fine as Japan still has a stronghold in advanced manufacturing (maybe another 5 years advantage).

@Godan : I share your observation that some Japanese absolutely despise their non-Japanese bosses and in my view for very good reasons. Foreign bosses are usually assigned to their post and did not work their way up the ranks. Some can be very brash and arrogant in the eyes Japanese. Leadership in Japan is about humility and consensus building. I guess its even harder to gain respect when these non-Japanese bosses aren't producing results with their methods.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Chiisaishima - >I guess its even harder to gain respect when these non-Japanese bosses aren't producing results with their methods.

But doesn't this make self-fulfilling prophecies all the more possible? The new British guy is changing things, Japanese employees don't like the changes or him, they stop trying their best. Two years later, all kinds of money being lost and the same workers say, "See, the foreigner screwed everything up." "Let's go back to the old ways and never hire non-Japanese ever again."

Maybe the old ways at Sony, Sharp, Panasonic, etc...have to be replicated/resurrected if possible?

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Apple is indirectly linked to the loss in revenue from many other electronics firms. The Iphone killed the Blackberry. When everyone has apple stuff it means you didnt buy a sony in many cases.

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The Japanese CE manufacturers are consolidating their effort swapping various fields with each other so the remaining few will be able to compete globally. It is a complete industrial restructuring where companies like Hitachi, Toshiba and other companies are selling off their CE product lines to others that consider it as their core business. The biggest problem with Sony was their compartmentalization of each products creating a rivalry within the company. A certain amount is health but when it goes too far when one business section is not talking to another hurts the company. Last would be the arrogance believing their brand name would force people in buying no matter how their product is inflexible like the first generation SS walkman which did not accept MP3 as a format giving the edge to iPod.

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Foreign bosses are usually assigned to their post and did not work their way up the ranks. Wrong. Perhaps you mean they worked their way up but are not old farts like the Japanese bosses? I don't know any Japanese man who has "worked" his way up. They age their way up. Which is why they dislike the "young" foreigners who come in to clean up the mess the japanese ossans have made. Olympus is a fine example of that. And lets look at what happened there.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Godan : "self-fulfilling prophecies"? Maybe but if the foreign boss is worth his salt, he would rise above the odds and still produce results. Then he would be worshipped like a God.

@tmarie : Yeah you are right. the "old farts" were really foolish to emulate their counterparts at Enron, AIG, Lehmah brothers, Citigroup,etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sony's ego was the caused of their own failure. Sony wanted to call the shots instead of being innovative from music to electronics. Sony didn't embrace the internet and what it could do for them in generating revenue. It was all about Sony and not about the consumers. The consumers voted with their pocket.

Always wanted a Sony Vaio but it was too expensive and lack quality.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Chii, why not take a look at Pansonic, Sony, Hitachi... and see how well these old farts have done.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

For overseas I would say the Yen rate. Here in Japan I bought Sharp TV products because the menus are also available in English! I bought Korean brand electronics also because they can be programmed to be region free and they are less expensive. I bought an Apple TV 2 device because it can be programmed (FireCore dot com) to get to the TV shows and movies I want to watch (via the Internet). Got a MagicJack and a NetTalk Duo so I can make free calls (via the Internet). For my Internet router I replaced the limited OEM operating system with the free DD-WRT. Sony isn't producing anything I really want, although their quality may be high. Japan seems stuck in the era of the post office, the fax, paper forms, the hanko, and hyoshigi fire patrol methods although they are culturally interesting.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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