Sony to stay in the smartphone business, says Sony Mobile CEO

7 Jul 2015496 Views

Sony has no plans to exit the mobile business, the CEO of Sony Mobile said, as mobile will be the key to the internet of things.

Sony Mobile CEO Hiroki Totoki has denied that the Japanese technology giant is planning to exit the mobile business. He said as Sony moves into areas like the internet of things (IoT), smartphones and smart devices will be the glue that will hold everything together.

He dismissed as speculation concerns that Sony plans to leave the smartphone business due to losses racked up by its mobile division last year.

Earlier this year Sony said it is instigating a strategic refocus in order to focus on areas that actually deliver profits.

At the time Sony’s overall CEO Kazuo Hirai said he would not rule out an exit strategy for the loss-making mobile phone and TV business units.

In recent weeks, Sony revealed its latest device, the slim and sleek Xperia Z3+.

‘We will never ever sell or exit from the current mobile business’
— HIROKI TOTOKI

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In an interview with ArabianBusiness.com, Sony Mobile CEO Hiroki Totoki said that the mobile unit has been clawing back expenses, including reducing headcount by 20pc. Sony has already laid off 1,000 workers from its Swedish manufacturing and R&D centres.

He said that while Sony has had to absorb the costs of acquiring Ericsson’s share of the smartphone unit in 2012, cashflow in Sony’s mobile division is quite healthy.

He said that the speculation that Sony would exit mobile was driven by the company’s decision to exit the VAIO business.

“Smartphones are completely connected to other devices, also connected to people’s lives — deeply. And the opportunity for diversification is huge. We’re heading to the IoT era and have to produce a number of new categories of products in this world, otherwise we could lose out on a very important business domain.

“In that sense we will never ever sell or exit from the current mobile business,” Totoki said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years

editorial@siliconrepublic.com