Sony is reportedly open to the idea of selling off their mobile business


Sony logo CES 2015 DSC_0059

It’s no secret Sony’s mobile division has had a tough time making headway in the crowded smartphone market. Where this could be attributed to any number of reasons (poor marketing, 6 month release cycles, virtually no presence in the US), it seems now, after announcing back in November their plans to downsize their smartphone lineup with a focus on high-end devices in a last ditch effort to cut costs, Sony President and CEO Kazuo (“Kaz”) Hirai is now exploring other ideas to help revive their struggling mobile (and TV) business.

According to Reuters, Sony is now open to joint ventures or even the sale of their mobile division completely. Sony is forecasting yet another net loss for the company in Q1 of this year ($1.9 billion) and it’s actually the 6th time they’ve had to cut their earnings forecast since Hirai took the helm back in 2012. While no deals are on the table just yet, Hirai told a group of reporters during last week’s CES that some of the company’s operations will “need to be run with caution,” referring specifically to their TV and mobile businesses.

As fans of Sony’s current smartphone lineup (the Xperia Z3 Compact is unrivaled in its class), we certainly hope Sony Mobile and newly appointed CEO Hiroki Totoki can turn things around but the clock is ticking. It’s clear Sony’s Asian rivals aren’t going to make things easy, but if worse comes to worse, which manufacturer — if any — do you think could come in and rescue Sony Mobile?

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Sony is the only good Android OEM. Expandable storage and unlockable bootloaders and waterproofing? No stupid invite system? Yes please. And AOSP options to boot.

    1. Until they let VZW hijack a potentially awesome phone and turn it into some frankenphone using leftover parts… which no one ends up buying once they get savvy to the bait and switch.

      1. Doesn’t the Z3 have waterproof issues in the corner with the lanyard. There are Hundreds of cases of this phone having water damage due to this defect. There is also issues with the pink spot on all the pictures and with the phone bending. Yet the Z3v has none of these issues since they stuck with Z2 body. My Z3v takes just as good photos as any other cell phone, is actually waterproof and has the hardware of most 2014 flagships.

    2. So HTC + waterproofing = Sony?

  2. Huawei!

    1. Never

  3. “It’s no secret Sony’s mobile division has had a tough time making headway in the crowded smartphone market” – yeah, that is understandable when they allow VZW – one of the biggest providers – to tell them they want a fake Z3 and will call it a Z3v, but it is really a bastardized Z2 and then people catch wind and it does not sell as they realize everyone else got a “real” Z3 and so slumpy Sony sales by one of the biggest providers.

    1. You’re spreading FUD. The Z3v isn’t pretending to be a Z3, hence the “v”. It’s a great phone, better than the alternatives in the VZW lineup. Also, the Qi wireless charging (only on the Z3v) is a great way to avoid prying open the port covers that make it waterproof.

      1. It might still be a good phone, be he’s correct in that the Z3v is not a true Z3. It is, in fact, a Z2 in sheep’s clothing, purpose built for Verizon.

        1. Sure, that’s all marketing strategy. If Verizon sold it as a Z2v and people saw posters for a Z3, many would balk at it. Same as if a carrier were to only sell older versions of a Galaxy, One, or iPhone.

          BUT, the user experience is pretty much the same between the Z2 and Z3 (software, cpu, etc), and neither phone is fairly common regardless.

          My point is that if a random person sees it somewhere (e.g. store, *bucks) and then looks online for a review, they’re bombarded by all these negative statements about the phone being a phony, and how you’re getting the wool pulled over your eyes if you buy it … forgetting to focus on it still being a great phone for Verizon customers!!

          I wouldn’t be surprised if it was an HTC/Samsung internet marketing campaign to marginalize Sony. Most review sites aren’t detached from industry moneys …

    2. Wow.. I didn’t realise that was what happened!

  4. Can Sony sell off Kaz Hirai?
    When the team can’t win, season after season, start blaming the coach.
    I personally like Sony’s handset build quality and the offer compelling, unique options the other providers have been slow to offer. Their tablet prices could certainly be a little cheaper too…

  5. I love my Z3. Please make it work.

  6. I like their phones though.

    1. that makes two of us :)

      1. I wanted to love the Z3… the most anticipated phone for me this year for sure and I was pumped at design and specs – near a dream phone for me at release time. Until VZW f’ed it up so then I walked away entirely from it when I realized it was not a Z3.

        I hope they right the wrong on the Z4, but if the Z3v sales are the test by VZW as to whether they offer a Z4, a TRUE Z4, then I would expect the Z4 to not come to VZW despite the fact it is not a Sony issue, but a VZW issue bastardizing the phone into something other than Sony had spec’d and got me pumped about.

        1. If not the Z3v, then what Verizon phone would you suggest to someone locked on VZW? I got it because it was clearly my favorite phone of their lineup …

          1. Droid Turbo or Moto X ’14. Both solid phones.

          2. Neither have a microSD slot, and most people have been underwhelmed by their battery performance, some saying it’s worse than the Z3v. The Xperia line uses better camera tech too.

          3. Agreed regarding the mSD and camera performance. To be honest, the Z3c would be my ideal smartphone right now, but I am also locked on VZW. Thus, my 2nd and 3rd choices would be the Turbo and X. A 64gb Turbo would probably be the best option right now. Has pretty great battery life also.

          4. I agree, the Z3 Compact would be a sweet phone. The Z3v is both big and very slippery. If you have dry hands (e.g. me) you better be careful.

            The cases available for it are all less than ideal due too it’s unique design (port covers, edge speakers, etc).

  7. Sony’s mobile division just needs to slow things down and stop making multiple gradual iterations instead of the best iteration. Like they did with the Z3. With that phone Sony finally got right what has been so close for the last few years. If they gave up now, just as that did things properly, it would be a real shame.

  8. Didn’t they just buy xperia’s shares?

    1. I could of sworn they bought Ericsson’s share….they used to be Sony Ericsson…..

  9. I have the Z2, got it on a whim @ $450 just after the z3 came out. Really nice phone with fantastic battery. They’ve put a lot of work in to the software but pretty much anyone who sees it says “Sony make phones?”

    1. Same. Though I love using mine in the rain. The looks I get! Its almost like that Audi TDI commercial in the US.

  10. I better hurry and pick up a Sony device before they’re jacked. Any other manufacturer will just dismantle what they’ve done.

    1. For old time sakes, Apple should buy it. Almost every product and strategy they have is modeled or designed by Sony.

  11. I hate it when they sold off their Vaio PC line. Now they want to sell off the Mobile division? Welp.

    1. No one wants to make real stuff anymore. Everyone wants to sell service and consumables.

  12. That’s crazy!!! And I was going to buy the Z3 tomorrow!!! Should I wait now? Damn.

    1. Buy it, fantastic phone. I have faith it’ll receive updates even if their mobile division is sold off. On the of chance it isn’t Xperia phones are pretty easy to mod.

      1. Yup…still gonna cop it..worst case if it loses support… Root and flash that mutha fucca!!!

      2. Just did research… The T-Mobile version has a locked Boot loader . : (

        1. That stinks.

    2. That’s exactly why I said 3 month ago that I won’t be buying Z3. You could see this coming.

    3. Don’t see why not. My old Z still gets updates even though I’m using the Z3 now. T mobile had been slower updating the phone than Sony outs them out but they get out eventually on t mobile Lol.

  13. And the Domino’s start to fall…shouldn’t be long now til Chinese OEM’s take the reigns. At least they’re built for razor thin margins.

    1. There’s no room in the market for two average product, great marketing and giant margins. AKA Apple.

  14. Sony should pitch Google for the next Nexus phone or tablet.

    1. That’s the Nexus tablet I’d buy! Although with current Nexus pricing model it would cost gazillion dollars.

  15. Here is the reason of Sony’s troubles: instead of continuing to improve the smartphone line that people like. Sony chooses to make an $1200 MP3 player that nobody will buy.

  16. They’d have to make it profitable first, then I might be interested ;-)

  17. Sony Mobile should reunite with Ericsson and merge with Google. How’s that for a long-term union with tons of synergy effects.

  18. Call me nuts.. I want Nintendo to buy them.

    1. You’re nuts ;)

      1. I thought the same… then I started wondering… What would a Super Mario phone look like? What would the Zelda phone be? A Metroid phone might be cool? ;)

        1. All of those could be wrapped with one name – WiiPhone LOL

  19. such a shame….why cant they just build their phones to support more bands for better support for all carriers here in the US? I know it wont SOLVE everything, but its gotta help if your phone is more available. Not everyone can just go spend 700 bucks for an unlocked phone, and some rely on their upgrade. And some rely on their service to be better (that is a knock on T-Mobile ;))

  20. This just dawned to me…does this also include their mobile lenses and sensors? From what I hear they are pretty successful in that market…. Is that part of mobile division or cinematic division?

  21. I agree, hang in there Sony, you make killer smartphones.

  22. The only problem is marketing if they want to see or make a profit put your damn phones on every U.S. CARRIER. If they sell off their mobile division I WILL STOP BUYING SONY PHONES

  23. Fire your marketing team instead. I’m sitting here with an S5 because the Z1s had an awful screen, the Z2 never made it over and the Z3 was STILL unavailable when I needed a new phone.

    Fuckin’ embarassing, sony.

  24. sony mobile is the best brand & huge department cause sony makes killer mobiles & awesome features for which people like it.

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