Sony to stop making computers

After more than 30 years Sony sells off Vaio brand to focus on tablets and smartphones.
 
  • Sony is disposing of its loss-making PC business as part of a shake-up which will also see it shed 5,000 jobs
    Last updated: 06 February 2014, 08:52 GMT

    Sony is to stop making personal computers after more than 30 years as it shifts focus to tablets and smartphones amid what it described as "drastic" changes in the industry.

    The Japanese electronics giant is disposing of its loss-making PC business, which trades under the Vaio brand, as part of a shake-up which will also see it shed 5,000 jobs.

    It is also seeking to return its TV arm to profit by concentrating on sales of high-end models.

    Sony launched its first 8-bit personal computer, the SMC-70, featuring BASIC computer language and 3.5-inch floppy drive, in 1982. More recently it has developed slimline "notebook" Vaio devices.

    It said neither its TV nor PC businesses will be ready to return to profitability in the current financial year to the end of March.

    It aims to conclude an agreement to sell Vaio to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) by the end of next month.

    Sony has been challenged by stiff competition from Samsung and Apple, and has instead identified its divisions making cameras, Playstations and Xperia smartphones as three core businesses to drive its growth in electronics.

    The company said: "Following a comprehensive analysis of factors, including the drastic changes in the global PC industry ... the company has determined that concentrating its mobile product line-up on smartphones and tablets and transferring its PC business to a new company established by JIP is the optimal solution.

    "As part of the business transfer to JIP, Sony will cease planning, design and development of PC products. Manufacturing and sales will also be discontinued after the spring 2014 line-up to be launched globally.

    "Even after Sony withdraws from the PC market, Sony customers will continue to receive aftercare customer services."

    It came as the company predicted it would swing to a 110 billion yen (£665 million) loss for the current financial year, after a 43 billion yen (£260 million) profit in the year ending March 2013.

    However there was a 27 billion yen (£163 million) profit for the third quarter, helped by improved sales of its smartphones and the launch of the Playstation 4.

    Sony said it would cut its global workforce by about 3% by the end of March next year, with 1,500 job losses in Japan and 3,500 overseas.

    Last updated: 06 February 2014, 08:52 GMT

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