Sony’s been in some tough times lately. With it’s most recent quarter featuring record losses of $5.7 billion and now the possibility that it may sell its New York – Times Square US Headquarters for up to a billion dollars, Sony is doing everything it can to save itself.
Sony has failed in many areas. Besides its stagnant TV, Movie, and Music businesses, Sony has been failing on almost every level. Its PlayStation Portable was a bust along with almost all of their Sony Ericcson phones (now just Sony). Their attempts to make a profitable PlayStation 3 has only just recently been in the black, and only just barely. Their computing business is being dominated by Apple, HP and Dell. Sony really has no market where they are the leader anymore, unlike the era of the Walkman.
Flops such as the MiniDisc and Betamax are distant memories with so many more recent. Even Blu-Ray, the go-to HD disc standard, is selling way less than Sony hoped for. Perhaps Sony’s largest point of failure recently has been their PS3 and PSP lines. Lair, a game expected to fetch new console sales was terrible. Their PlayStation Home network is much less popular than Xbox Live– especially since it was found to be very insecure last year with every account hacked.
Their most recent flop was the Xperia Play. Moving from their own proprietary operating system to Android, the Play was supposed to be the must-have phone for mobile gaming. Instead, Apple pushed the iPhone’s gaming ability by integrating decent graphics processing onboard. Instantly, the Xperia Play was beaten.
Sony thinks it has the answer: the Xperia Ion. I’m not sure what they were thinking– perhaps they thought “Hey guys, maybe we can do a better job this time!” But of course, the market is saturated with decent phones and most can play relatively intensive games including the most popular phone model, the iPhone 4S.
AT&T will carry the Xperia Ion for $99 with contract. After buying out Ericcson for almost $1.5 billion (and adding to its losses), it thinks it can fix the problem of making a phone that nobody wants. Featuring 4G LTE and a more casual design, it hopes to compete with the iPhone 4, Windows Phones, and budget Android models.
Still, it’s obvious that Sony really didn’t think this one through either. Instead of putting the latest and greatest Android OS on their phone, it will feature the old 2.3.7 version of the operating system termed Gingerbread. Unless Sony can innovate like it did in the 1980’s and 90’s, it will continue to have losses that will haunt investors and balance sheets for the foreseeable future.