Sony makes some very nice equipment, especially when it comes to smartphones, and I don’t think there are many people that will argue against that. However, the company has struggled to gain much market share and turn a profit in the wireless industry, partly because of intense competition on both the high and low end, and partly because of their inability to make any headway in the lucrative US market.
Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai talked about how Sony plans to get back to profitability by the end of the 2018, and those plans include leveraging Sony’s Playstation business, as well as their camera component sales and access to media like TV shows, movies, and music. However, two of Sony’s current major divisions, televisions and smartphones, are absent from that plan.
Hirai didn’t explicitly say it’s part of the company’s long term plan, but he hasn’t ruled out getting out of the mobile and TV market. Both of those industries are extremely competitive, and even when a company does manage to grab up some market share it can be tough to turn that into profit. Sony has struggled with both of those markets lately, and we’ve already seen them spin off their PC division to cut their losses, so it’s very possible that the mobile and TV sections get the same treatment.
Ultimately, Sony plans to increase it profits to about $4 billion by the end of 2018, and Hirai believes they’re on track to do that with or without those two divisions. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out, but I’d be pretty disappointed to see them leave the mobile industry altogether. There’s always a chance that they sell the division off to a third party, similar to what happened with VAIO, but it’s too early to make any guesses at this point.