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What has happened to once great Japanese companies like Panasonic, Sony, Sharp and Toshiba?

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They lost their edge once they stopped making competitive and quality equipment.

Instead of product innovations, they invested their time, effort and resources to enrichment ... for themselves.

0 ( +1 / -2 )

The media keep talking about the strong yen and competition from Korean manufacturers, etc, but I think another reason is that the market is saturated in Japan. There is nothing wrong with the quality of electronic products, but every household has more than enough. We've all got fridges, washing machines, TVs, ovens, vacuum cleaners. How many more gadgets can we buy? And the ones I have don't seem to wear out. Except for a large-screen TV, I've had most of my current appliances for more than 10 years, some for 20. So unless they start making products that break down after 3 years, I don't need anything else.

I saw on TV the other night that there was a trade show and Japanese manufacturers were exhibiting the latest innovations such as smartphones that control household appliances. Clever, but who really needs to be able turn an appliance on and off with a smartphone?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Decades of complacency and arrogance aided by the ability to borrow huge amounts from banks at almost no interest, so you don't have to really worry about things like ROI. Japan has tried to be a semi-socialist country for too long. Gotta either fish or cut bait.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Since 2008 companies have reduced jobs, reduced salaries and created a strong atmosphere of uncertainty for working people in all of the developed world. Combine that with high unemployment, instability in the greater economy and the answer starts to be very clear.

If I, as a worker, am uncertain that my income will be stable going forward, I will not buy that 50" LCD, new car, appliances or other items. I may still by a computer because I need that to look for work, or to expand my skills. I may keep a good smartphone so I can manage away from home. But everything else starts to be optional. And that means less sales.

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1 ( +3 / -2 )

Capitalism as we know it is changing. Some predict dying. Combine that with economic uncertainty and growing awareness of the need to conserve resources and protect the environment and consumerism will change. Change permanently. And there are downstream results.

So the next time a company says "Let's lay people off to save money" they should consider that such action eventually means people feel less certain to buy their products. All those out of work people, or underemployed people are where your money comes from companies. Cut them off and you cut your own throats

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Pruning and growing...

Like the bonsai, they will thrive

Electronica!

-2 ( +1 / -2 )

Korea

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Japan coddling them too much and too many incompetent managers allowed them to destroy themselves.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The previously "developing" nations that were the so-called "Asian Tigers" back in the 90's have basically been way more motivated to get into the marketplace. Meanwhile, Japan sat around watching food shows and unfunny comedians on their TVs, thinking their poop didn't smell.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

On a fundamental level - too many old guys at the top who are simply out of touch with what's happening. No nurturing of young talent, no encouragement to think outside of the box.

The sad fact is, there has been little innovation in the Japanese tech industry over the past 10 years. There's been a monumental shift in the industry - from a hardware focus to a software focus. Pair this with the "ecosystem lock-in" that is dominated by Apple & Google, and there's little room for anyone else. Japan Inc. didn't produce the iPhone because they're so far behind in software innovation.

Sure, Japanese OEMs can pump out Android devices in great volumes, but the sad reality is, only Samsung is making any money. The Japanese OEMs are too focused on gimmicks, rather than real innovation.

The market doesn't want waterproof / dustproof / solar-powered / TV-enabled / dual-screened / seasonal coloured / candy-themed devices. This is reflected in sales - the market now basically belongs to the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S3.

iPad? Selling more than all PC OEMs combined.

Best selling Android tablets? Asus' Nexus 7 (running STOCK Android, not OEM bloatware that's so Win 95) and Amazon's Kindle (running an entirely customised skin and, again, has "ecosystem lock-in").

There needs to be a serious overhaul of Japan Inc., and fast.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

the yen rate is killing all the japanese companies. It is nit just electronics but everything made in Japan. Japan needs to take real action on currency.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japan could once rely on its home market. preferring home brands to foreign. But the population is shrinking and getting old. Now those brands HAVE to seek outside markets to makeup for the loss at home.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

well I dunno, being electronic based companies, I wish theyd make some decent lights. You know, either something fancy or a range that gives me choice. Or a desk lamp that doesnt break because I swivel it from left to right-as it is made to do-regularly. Or maybe some nice standing lamps that arent priced as if you have to be Richie Rich to own one, but not that cheap that the quality is crap. Anything else like that. A nice radio-that looks nice and has quality. Even an old fashioned phone I'd like, just to have it and use it. Stereos are getting smaller and smaller, but what about the person who likes to see their stereo, doesnt need all the contraptions, and when friends come round says lets play the stereo, and instead of all focusing in a inch by inch sized product your looking at your wall sized 'fun', and are able to lounge in comfort rather than squat in huddle bunches form. Although these products are around to some degree, they are either crappy in quality or priced as if you have to be a proessional. There are people who dont live in a shoebox you know.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan's Aged Society vs China's Young Power has abviously outclassed Sony/Sharp or Nippon brand.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japan's Aged Society vs China's Young Power has abviously outclassed Sony/Sharp or Nippon brand.

Well it's more that Korean brands are beating Japanese brands.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

their nice hardware often time do not come with elegant software (for dumb users like me)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They vastly underestimated Smartphones and were too preoccupied with competing amongst each other for the Japanese market.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The same thing that happens to all big companies where most of their efforts are conducted not in increasing their bottom line, but to increase their own personal power and influence within the company.

When a company gets big, it gains economies of scale. It can produce a lot of products a lot cheaper, and sell them a lot cheaper.

But it also loses its competitiveness. If the market changes, they are to big and too slow to change with it.

Especially in technological products, you've got to innovate or die. Japanese companies aren't known for their consumer pleasing innovations. More so for their "quirky, hey look at strange Japan" innovations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As Charles Darwin once said "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."

Japan have good technologies but has been looking inward and not mixing around much with the rest of the world in order to adapt the changes of the market.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Yen is way too strong. Does not make any sense.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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