Sony's New CEO Plans to Follow Apple's Business Strategies
After reporting an operating loss of $1.2 billion for the December quarter on revenue of $23.4 billion, Sony announced that its board of directors had unanimously appointed Kazuo Hirai to be the company’s new CEO. Hirai who is famous for his work with Sony’s gaming business is ousting Howard Stringer, who will transition to non-executive chairman of the board on April 1 according to the New York Times.
The change in management comes as the company struggles to return to profitability. The Japan-based electronics maker is on track to report its fourth consecutive year in the red. Stringer seems to have failed to turn the company around after taking the reins as Sony’s first foreign chief executive in 2005. According to a profile of Hirai in the Wall Street Journal, the 51-year old executive is planning drastic measures for the company when he takes over. “We can’t just continue to be a great purveyor of hardware products,” he reportedly told the publication, noting he is looking to move on from past successes and focus on more software and services, much like Apple.
Apple wasn’t content when it revolutionized the portable music industry with the iPod and ended up proceeding to revolutionize both the smartphone and tablet industries as well. The Cupertino giant is known for its high level of control over the product development process and its tight integration of hardware, software, and services. All of these things is what Hirai wants to incorporate in Sony’s business strategy going forward.
It’s fitting that Sony draws inspiration from Apple, as Steve Jobs once said that Sony had an influence on his company’s early years. Being a friend of Sony co-founder Akio Morita, he mentioned how he was impressed by the company’s transistor radios and Trinitron TVs. Jobs steered Apple to success beating Sony at its own game by dominating its Walkman music player line with the iPod. In the recent years, although not really comparable, Apple’s iOS gaming platform seems to have started taking a toll on Sony’s PlayStation profits as well.
Sony seems to be sluggish and reactive lately with the moves they make. An example of this would be how Sony unveiled its first touchscreen tablet last April, which was more than one year after Apple released the iPad. If that wasn’t bad enough, the company waited until October 2011 to ship it and despite saying that the tablets “truly represent the best of everything Sony has to offer,” the devices were poorly received and failed to gain any substantial traction in the market. Furthermore, the company has admitted that it is currently racing in an attempt to avoid any threat from Apple in the television industry, believing that Jobs was working on an innovative new television set without a doubt. According to Stringer, Sony “can’t continue selling TV sets [the way they have been]. Every TV set they make loses money.”
With Apple’s continued success, it isn’t much of a surprise to see other tech giants adapting the Cupertino California company’s strategies.
Source: The New York Times