Sony Picks Possible Successor

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 As Sony prepares to combine its consumer-electronics and gaming divisions, a new successor to chief executive Howard Stringer is slowly emerging. The electronics giant plans to promote Kazuo Hirai, the head of its PlayStation game unit, to head the new business. The promotion renders Hirai a likely successor to Stringer, according to various reports including a recent Wall Street Journal article.

Hirai will have his work cut out for him. As previously covered by TechZone360.com, Sony recently reported that its quarterly profit dropped 8.6 percent. The Tokyo-based electronics giant earned 72.33 billion yen ($886.4 million) in profit for the October-December quarter, down from 79.17 billion yen the year before. Quarterly sales dropped 1.4 percent to 2.206 trillion yen ($27 billion). And Sony lost about 13 billion yen ($159 million) in its TV division.

What’s more, Sony is predicting a full year operating profit of 200 billion yen, lower than a consensus estimate of 212.9 billion yen in a poll of 24 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Last month, TechZone360.com reported on Sony’s eagerness to come in second place – behind Apple – in number of tablet computers sold by next year. But it’s already 2011 and Sony seems on a slow pace given that it did not introduce a tablet at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Reuters has also reported that Stringer said that Sony wants to differentiate itself among its competitors – and that that may mean its tablet will be released later. For example, he said Sony is considering whether its forthcoming tablet should have 3D, according to Reuters. At least one industry analyst said Sony turning into second-biggest maker of tablets by next year is a “difficult” goal, according to a report from Reuters.

"It would be extremely difficult to come up with products that are different from the others and to steal market share from the far-and-away front-runner, Apple," T.I.W. senior analyst Takao Hattori told Reuters in an interview. "To attract consumers, Sony would have to come up with features that are totally unexpected.”




Edited by Janice McDuffee

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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