Fri, Apr 06, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Professional products to aid consumer unit: Sony

Bloomberg

Sony Corp, Japan’s biggest electronics exporter, will use the technology of its business-use products to help revive its consumer-products unit, Kazuo Hirai said in his first public address as company president.

Accelerating cooperation between the professional-products business and the consumer division is key to reviving Sony’s electronics operations, Hirai, who replaced Howard Stringer as president and chief executive on Sunday, told reporters in Tokyo yesterday.

Hirai, 51, has vowed “painful” steps to turn around a company facing a fourth straight annual loss as consumers flock to devices from Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc. The new chief executive, credited with making Sony’s PlayStation game business profitable, put himself in charge of the company’s television operations, aiming to end eight years of losses at the unit.

“Sony’s high-quality, advanced products for business use can help our consumer unit lead the market,” Hirai said. “We will speed up development of products and promote cooperation.”

The effort will be led by Shoji Nemoto, who has been named to oversee Tokyo-based Sony’s technology strategy, and digital imaging and solution units, Hirai said. Sony’s professional-use products include cameras employed by broadcasters and projectors used by movie theaters.

The maker of Bravia TVs and Vaio computers plans to unveil details of its new corporate strategy on Thursday next week, Sony said in a statement yesterday.

The company’s shares rose 0.68 percent to ¥1,668 at the close in Tokyo, while Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.53 percent.

Sony announced Nemoto’s appointment on March 27, when it also named Kunimasa Suzuki as head of product strategy, mobile phones and personal computers. Tomoyuki Suzuki was named to oversee Sony’s chip and device solution businesses.

“There are technologies that our professional unit has that can benefit products for the mass market,” Nemoto said. “We’ll do it very quickly. We can jointly develop chips, systems and modules to build a seamless relationship.”

Nemoto has set up three groups under his technology committee, he said. A corporate research and development group made up of select engineers will focus on developing a “game-changing” technology that can drive Sony’s growth in five to 10 years, he said.

Another group is tasked with improving Sony’s research and development for existing products, and products to be introduced within five years. The third group will focus on technologies for components and materials, Nemoto said.

Hirai, who worked in Sony’s music and entertainment divisions, edged out three other candidates with engineering backgrounds for the top job at the company that was a trendsetter in the 1980s.

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