Its seems as though Sony (SNE) isn’t quite out of the woods yet.
CEO Kazuo Hirai’s company seemed to be finding its groove — at least when it came to designing products that people might actually want — but word is the company is expecting to book a $1 billion loss for 2013. Despite some spectacular new Bravia 4K TVs, the television division will also mark a decade without turning a profit. That hurts and the situation has left Hirai scrambling for ways to save money.
Taking a page from IBM’s (IBM) playbook back in 2004 — the company sold its popular ThinkPad PC business to Lenovo (LNVGY) — it will be selling its Sony Vaio PC division to Japan Industrial Partners, laying off 5,000 associated employees.
Given the dismal shape the PC industry has been in, it probably makes sense for Sony to get rid of this division, but it’s a sad day for many PC fans. The Sony Vaio has a reputation for innovation and Sony’s PC design aesthetic has influenced other premium laptop makers, including Apple (AAPL). Sony even helped build Apple’s first notebook success and predecessor to the MacBook Pro, the PowerBook 100.
See my recent review of the Sony Vaio Fit 15A for an example of how Sony had been working hard to stay on top in the PC business.
The question has to be asked: With the Sony Vaio (and its U.S. e-reader presence) on the chopping block, what else might go? I suppose anything is possible, but here are five lines I’m betting Sony won’t get rid of any time soon.