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Wed, Jul 08, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Sony to start selling Vaio netbooks amid first annual losses

COMPETITION: The netbook market is the fastest growing personal computer market, but Sony lags behind Asustek and Toshiba in penetration

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Sony Corp, forecasting its first back-to-back annual losses in half a century, will start selling netbook personal computers from next month in an attempt to benefit from rising demand for the cheaper, scaled-down machines.

The computers will be sold for about ¥60,000 (US$630) in Japan and will be available under the Vaio brand in 54 countries, Satoshi Ihara, a marketing manager at Sony, told reporters at a briefing yesterday in Tokyo, where the company is based.

Sony trails Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the Taiwanese pioneer of the laptops known as netbooks, and Toshiba Corp in offering a low-cost, small-screen computer with reduced processing power, a product category set to become the fastest-growing segment of the PC industry this year.

Prices “will probably stop falling soon and our price won’t be a big hurdle,” Ihara said, declining to provide an overall sales target for the product.

The company said in May it would probably boost sales of Vaio computers to 6.2 million units in the year ending next March from 5.8 million units a year earlier.

Sony said in February it would combine Vaio computers, Walkman music players and games under Kazuo Hirai, who would focus on creating gadgets that work with each other and connect to the Internet.

“We plan to release more products for the Vaio to attract customers,” Ihara said yesterday.

Sony fell 2.3 percent to close at ¥2,355 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.3 percent.

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