Friday, 12 July 2013

Business units

Sony offers a number of products in a variety of product lines around the world. Sony has developed a music playing robot called Rolly, dog-shaped robots called AIBO and a humanoid robot called QRIO.

As of 1 April 2012, Sony is organized into the following business segments: Imaging Products & Solutions (IP&S), Game, Mobile Products & Communications (MP&C), Home Entertainment & Sound (HE&S), Devices, Pictures, Music, Financial Services and All Other. The network and medical businesses are included in the All Other.

Electronics Sony Corporation

Sony Corporation is the electronics business unit and the parent company of the Sony Group. It primarily conducts strategic business planning of the group, research and development (R&D), planning, designing and marketing for electronics products. Its subsidiaries such as Sony EMCS Corporation (6 plants in Japan), Sony Semiconductor Corporation (7 plants in Japan) and its subsidiaries outside Japan (Brazil, China, England, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Ireland and United States) are responsible for manufacturing as well as product engineering (Sony EMCS is also responsible for customer service operations). In 2012, Sony incorporated rolled most of its consumer content services (including video, music, and gaming) into the Sony Entertainment Network.

Audio The 1979 Sony Walkman ushered in a new era of portability for music listening

Sony produced the world's first portable music player, the Walkman in 1979. This line fostered a fundamental change in music listening habits by allowing people to carry music with them and listen to music through lightweight headphones. Walkman originally referred to portable audio cassette players. The company now uses the Walkman brand to market its portable audio and video players as well as a line of former Sony Ericsson mobile phones.

Sony utilized a related brand, Discman, to refer to its CD players. It dropped this name in the late 1990s.


Sony sells many of its computer products using the VAIO brand.

Sony produced computers (MSX home computers and NEWS workstations) during the 1980s, exclusively for sale in the Japanese market. The company withdrew from the computer business around 1990. Sony entered again into the global computer market under the new VAIO brand, began in 1996. Short for "Video Audio Integrated Operation," the line was the first computer brand to highlight visual-audio features.

Sony faced considerable controversy when some of its laptop batteries exploded and caught fire in 2006., resulting in the largest computer-related recall to that point in history.

In a bid to join the tablet computer market, the company launched its Sony Tablet series in 2011. The machines run on Google Android software. Since 2012, Sony has been producing tablets under the Xperia brand.


Sony offers a range of digital cameras. Point-and-shoot models adopt the Cyber-shot name, while digital single-lens reflex models are branded using Alpha.

The first Cyber-shot was introduced in 1996. At the time, digital cameras were a relative novelty. Sony's market share of the digital camera market fell from a high of 20% to 9% by 2005.

Sony entered the market for digital single-lens reflex cameras in 2006 when it acquired the camera business of Konica Minolta. Sony rebranded the company's line of cameras as its Alpha line. Sony is the world's third largest manufacturer of the cameras, behind leaders Canon and Nikon.


In 1968 Sony introduced the Trinitron brand name for its lines of aperture grille cathode ray tube televisions and (later) computer monitors. Sony stopped production of Trinitron for most markets, but continued producing sets for markets such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and China. Sony discontinued its series of Trinitron computer monitors in 2005. The company discontinued the last Trinitron-based television set in the USA in early 2007. The end of Trinitron marked the end of Sony's analog television sets and monitors.

Sony used the LCD WEGA name for its LCD TVs until summer 2005. The company then introduced the BRAVIA name. BRAVIA is an in house brand owned by Sony which produces high-definition LCD televisions, projection TVs and front projectors, home cinemas and the BRAVIA home theatre range. All Sony high-definition flat-panel LCD televisions in North America have carried the logo for BRAVIA since 2005. Sony is the third-largest maker of televisions in the world. As of 2012, Sony's television business has been unprofitable for eight years.

In December 2011, Sony agreed to sell all stake in an LCD joint venture with Samsung Electronics for about $940 million. On 28 March 2012, Sony Corporation and Sharp Corporation announced that they have agreed to further amend the joint venture agreement originally executed by the parties in July 2009, as amended in April 2011, for the establishment and operation of Sharp Display Products Corporation ("SDP"), a joint venture to produce and sell large-sized LCD panels and modules

Sony also sells a range of DVD players. It has shifted its focus in recent years to promoting the Blu-ray format, including discs and players.

Semiconductor and component

Sony produces a wide range of semiconductors and electronic components including image sensors, laser diodes, system LSIs, mixed-signal LSIs, OLED panels, etc. The company has a strong presence in image sensor market. Sony-manufactured CCD and CMOS image sensors are widely used in digital cameras, smartphones, tablet computers.

Medical-related business

Sony has targeted medical, healthcare and biotechnology business as a growth sector in the future. The company acquired iCyt Mission Technology, Inc. (renamed Sony Biotechnology Inc. in 2012), a manufacture of flow cytometers, in 2010 and Micronics, Inc., a developer of microfluidics-based diagnostic tools, in 2011.

In 2012, Sony announced that it will acquire all shares of So-net Entertainment Corporation, which is the majority shareholder of M3, Inc., an operator of portal sites (, MR-kun, MDLinx and MEDI:GATE) for healthcare professionals.

On September 28, 2012, Olympus and Sony announced that the two companies will establish a joint venture to develop new surgical endoscopes with 4K resolution (or higher) and 3D capability. Sony Olympus Medical Solutions Inc. (Sony 51%, Olympus 49%) was established on April 16, 2013.

Sony Mobile Communications Main article: Sony Mobile Communications

Sony Mobile Communications AB (formerly Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB) is a multinational mobile phone manufacturing company headquartered in London, United Kingdom and a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation.

In 2001, Sony entered into a joint venture with Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson, forming Sony Ericsson. Initial sales were rocky, and the company posted losses in 2001 and 2002. However, SMC reached a profit in 2003. Sony Ericsson distinguished itself with multimedia-capable mobile phones, which included features such as cameras. These were unusual for the time. Despite their innovations, SMC faced intense competition from Apple's iPhone, released in 2007. From 2008 to 2010, amid a global recession, SMC slashed its workforce by several thousand. Sony acquired Ericsson's share of the venture in 2012 for over US$1 billion. In 2009, SMC was the fourth-largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world (after Nokia, Samsung and LG). By 2010, its market share had fallen to sixth place. Sony Mobile Communications now focuses exclusively on the smartphone market.

Sony Computer Entertainment Main article: Sony Computer Entertainment The PlayStation 2 is the best-selling video game console of all time.

Sony Computer Entertainment is best known for producing the popular line of PlayStation consoles. The line grew out of a failed partnership with Nintendo. Originally, Nintendo requested for Sony to develop an add-on for its console that would play Compact Discs. In 1991 Sony announced the add-on, as well as a dedicated console known as the "Play Station." However, a disagreement over software licensing for the console caused the partnership to fall through. Sony then continued the project independently.

Launched in 1994, the first PlayStation gained 61% of global console sales and broke Nintendo's long-standing lead in the market. Sony followed up with the PlayStation 2 in 2000, which was even more successful. The console has become the most successful of all time, selling over 150 million units as of 2011. Sony released the PlayStation 3, a high-definition console, in 2006. It was the first console to use the Blu-ray format, although its expensive Cell processor made it considerably more expensive than competitors Xbox 360 and Wii. Early on, poor sales performance resulted in significant losses for the company, pushing it to sell the console at a loss. The PlayStation 3 has generally sold more poorly than those competitors in the early years of its release but later on overtook the Xbox 360 in global sales. It later introduced the PlayStation Move, an accessory that allows players to control video games using motion gestures. Sony announced the PlayStation 4 for release in 2013.

Sony extended the brand to the portable games market in 2005 with the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The console has sold reasonably, but has taken a second place to a rival handheld, the Nintendo DS. Sony developed the Universal Media Disc (UMD) optical disc medium for use on the PlayStation Portable. Early on, the format was used for movies, but it has since lost major studio support. Sony released a disc-less version of its PlayStation Portable, the PSP Go. The company went on to release its second portable video game system, PlayStation Vita, in 2011 and 2012.

Entertainment Sony Pictures Entertainment Main article: Sony Pictures Entertainment Sony Pictures produces well known series including Spider-Man and Men in Black.

Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. (SPE) is the television and film production/distribution unit of Sony. With 12.5% box office market share in 2011, the company was ranked 3rd among movie studios. Its group sales in 2010 were US$7.2 billion. The company has produced many notable movie franchises, including Spider-Man, The Karate Kid, and Men in Black. It has also produced popular television game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.

Sony entered the television and film production market when it acquired Columbia Pictures Entertainment in 1989 for $3.4 billion. Columbia lives on in the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, a subsidiary of SPE which in turn owns TriStar Pictures and Columbia Pictures. SPE's television division is known as Sony Pictures Television.

For the first several years of its existence, Sony Pictures Entertainment performed poorly, leading many to suspect the company would sell off the division. Sony Pictures Entertainment encountered controversy in the early 2000s. In July 2000, a marketing executive working for Sony Corporation created a fictitious film critic, David Manning, who gave consistently good reviews for releases from Sony subsidiary Columbia Pictures that generally received poor reviews amongst real critics. Sony later pulled the ads, suspended Manning's creator and his supervisor and paid fines to the state of Connecticut and to fans who saw the reviewed films in the US. In 2006 Sony started using ARccOS Protection on some of their film DVDs, but later issued a recall.

Sony Music Entertainment Main article: Sony Music Entertainment

Sony Music Entertainment (also known as SME or Sony Music) is the second-largest global recorded music company of the "big four" record companies and is controlled by Sony Corporation of America, the United States subsidiary of Japan's Sony Corporation. The company owns full or partial rights to the catalogues of Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Usher, Eminem, Akon, and others.

In one of its largest-ever acquisitions, Sony purchased CBS Record Group in 1987 for US$2 billion. In the process, Sony gained the rights to the catalogue of Michael Jackson, considered by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the most successful entertainer of all time. The acquisition of CBS Records provided the foundation for the formation of Sony Music Entertainment, which Sony established in 1991.

In 2004, Sony entered into a joint venture with Bertelsmann AG, merging Sony Music Entertainment with Bertelsmann Music Group to create Sony BMG. In 2005, Sony BMG faced a copy protection scandal, because its music CDs had installed a controversial feature on users' computers that was posing a security risk to affected users. In 2007, the company acquired Famous Music for US$370 million, gaining the rights to the catalogues of Eminem and Akon, among others.

Sony bought out Bertelsmann's share in the company and formed a new Sony Music Entertainment in 2008. Since then, the company has undergone management changes.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing Main article: Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Besides its record label, Sony operates other music businesses. In 1995, Sony purchased a 50% stake in ATV Music Publishing, forming Sony/ATV Music Publishing. At the time, the publishing company was the second-largest of its kind in the world. The company owns much of the publishing rights to the catalogue of The Beatles. Sony purchased digital music recognition company Gracenote for US$260 million in 2008.

Finance Sony Financial Services

Sony Financial Holdings is a holding company for Sony's financial services business. It owns and oversees the operation of Sony Life (in Japan and the Philippines), Sony Assurance, Sony Bank and Sony Bank Securities. The company is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

Sony Financial accounts for half of Sony's global earnings. The unit proved the most profitable of Sony's businesses in fiscal year 2006, earning $1.7 billion in profit. Sony Financial's low fees have aided the unit's popularity while threatening Sony's premium brand name.

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