Remember the time when Sony (NYSE:SNE) was Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)? That’s right, Sony was behind consumer technology-breaking products like the Walkman and PlayStation, not to mention the maker of Trinitron television sets.
Today’s Sony is awash in red ink, bleeding dry from stale products and poor investments. The Tokyo, Japan based electronics and entertainment company announced a loss of 255 billion yen ($3.2 billion U.S.) for the January-March period, a record fifth-straight quarterly loss, including a 260 billion yen loss for fiscal 2011.
Sales and profits dropped in virtually every corner of the company, according to BloomergBusinessweek, with the core television business suffering an eighth straight year of losses due to competition from Samsung and other Asian based commodity flat-panel manufacturers.
Losses were not confined to the television sector, however, as sales and profits dropped in the music business. Additional losses in the consumer business are due to customers buying up Apple products like the iPhone and iPad instead of Sony’s brand-name offerings.
Sony was also hurt by factory and supplier problems resulting from earthquakes and the tsunami in Northeastern Japan, and production problems caused by flooding in Thailand.
Adding another layer of problems is the soaring Yen, which erodes overseas earnings of exported products.
The good news? Sony forecast a profit of for fiscal year 2013, hoping that growth in smartphone and tablet sales will move the needle to the plus side. Sony can also look to their film business, which is doing well due to entertainment hits like the “Spider-Man” series, although overall profits are negligible.
Newly appointed Sony president Kazuo Hirai, who headed the gaming division and worked in the U.S. said the company will cut 6% of its global work force, and hopes to turn a profit in the television sector within two years.
Written by Marc Bastow, Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing Mr. Bastow was long AAPL.