Over the last several months, there has been an increasingly bitter debate surrounding Sony’s decision to keep its television business. There are some folks that say the time has come for Sony, which has watched its market share continue to trail far behind the leaders of the pack, Samsung and Vizio, finally spin off the operation. Sony, on the other hand, has argued that such a strategy makes little sense, and what it needs to do now is hunker down and turn things around.
Oh, how wrong Sony is.
Sony’s television business is a mess. Aside from its dismal market share, Sony chief Howard Stringer said recently that his company loses money on every single TV unit it sells. And the tech giant’s recent decision to break the TV unit into three, allowing it to allocate investment dollars more effectively and find out which division isn’t keeping its end of the bargain, makes little sense.
After all, no matter how many divisions a single unit is broken up into, if consumers don’t care, there’s no future. It’s as simple as that.
Sony’s decision to keep the TV business becomes all the more laughable when one considers that one of those units is tasked with the development of a next-generation TV that, Stringer says, will be designed to compete against Apple’s long-rumored set.
Maybe Sony’s executives have been asleep over the last several years, but as far as I can tell, Apple has just about dominated every market it has entered recently. What’s more, Apple’s brand is far more respected than Sony’s, making Stringer’s contention that his company could even come close to matching the iPhone maker a tad sad.
If we really examine Sony from top to bottom, we find a company that has become too bloated. The electronics giant wants to be the choice for every customer on the market, regardless of whether they want a television, game console, or any other device in between. More agile, successful companies, on the other hand, have focused their operations on a few core areas and watched their profits soar because of it.
So, the best move now for Sony is to start selling off its business piecemeal. The company still has some top talent and some of its divisions are quite lucrative for vendors that want to break into new markets. But those divisions are losing value with each passing day. And the smart move is to sell them off now before it’s too late.
Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I admire Sony’s warrior attitude. And I’ll even go so far as to say that I think it could turn things around in some markets — especially the gaming space. But the television market is a lost cause for Sony. And the sooner it realizes that, the sooner it can focus on other products and services that might actually be able to drive its business.