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Sony exits PC market with VAIO sale

Sony Vaio

By Shona Ghosh

Posted on 6 Feb 2014 at 09:26

Sony has quit the PC market, confirming the sale of its VAIO unit to a local private equity fund.

As expected, Japan Industrial Partners will buy Sony's PC unit and set up a separate company to take over operations.

Financial terms weren't disclosed, but it's thought the deal was worth 50 billion yen (£301 million). Sony is expected to hold a 5% stake in the company, and the deal is expected to complete by the end of July.

Sony expects to transfer around 250 to 300 employees from its PC division to the new business.

The deal also means new VAIO models will no longer be available outside of Japan.

Sony established the VAIO brand in 1996. The company blamed its exit on "drastic changes" in the PC market and said it would focus on smartphones and tablets.

Restructure

Sony also announced a wider restructure as it forecast steep losses for the year. The company aims to cut 5,000 jobs and trim 100 billion yen (£606 million) a year off its fixed costs. The cuts will be implemented by March next year, the company said.

After years of losses in the division, Sony will also spin off its TV business into a separate unit by July.

The company posted net profit for the three months from October last year of 27bn yen, up from a net loss of 10.8bn yen during the same period a year ago.

But after weak sales in core areas - PCs, TVs, smartphones and audio - the company revised its net profit forecast for the financial year to 31 March to an 110 billion yen (£665 million) loss, down from an earlier projection of 30 billion yen (£181 million) profit.

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User comments

Woooo!

I look forward to exciting Windows 8.1 tablets or stupidly overpriced Android tablets that do less.

By rhythm on 6 Feb 2014

I would blame their shoddy customer service;
For example My then 9 month old P4 vaio with 2 optical drives. One stopped working-Their attitude was very condescending and unhelpful-They could not manage a sentence with out the word virus-Even then I was old enough, most viruses have children behind them-They wanted me to wipe the hard drive-They wanted three weeks to replace an optical drive, just what was so special about it???--In the end with out their cooperation I found and fitted a slightly better replacement from Dixons (DSG) that was perfectly affordable in a day. I had never done that sort of thing before then-As a result of their attitude, I stopped buying Sony

By invalidscreenname on 6 Feb 2014

I don't think Sony VAIO has been a premium brand for some time, my VAIO bought in 2008 was nice but it wasn't premium by any stretch and the battery gave up the ghost within 2 years. Looking to replace it for the last 18 months and Sony's offerings have just been disappointing, the E series in particular just seem a budget option with poor screens and questionable build quality. Their support has been non-existent, they flat-out refused to help me upgrade to Windows 7, and I eventually did it myself after some jiggery-pokery with the dedicated graphics drivers.

But we shouldn't just focus on the product, Sony have just had their credit down-graded to junk status by Moody's and they probably need all the cash they can lay their hands on. At some point in the last ten years they seem to have lost their way right across the consumer products business, no longer generating the revenues to invest and rejuvenate many other products lines. Their flat-screen TV business was making massive losses for a long time.

By c6ten on 6 Feb 2014

@invalidscreenname

Triple posting aside - it took you a day to change an optical drive?

By TheHonestTruth on 6 Feb 2014

Unsurprising

I too second Sony's dreadful support for being a reason why I stopped buying their kit. Took them nearly a month to replace the motherboard in my sister's Vaio.

Then at work we bought a Vaio for a member of staff. Battery died just after a year and we were quoted nearly £250 for a replacement. They charged £45 for a set of driver disks for it (and even then they were fresh from someone's CD burner), the thing was piled to the gills with crapware and took hours to clean.

In fact, we had such a bad experience that we placed a block on buying any further Sony laptops - the only company that we had this with.

Sony make some nice hardware, but fail dismally with software and support, and the whole package is important when you're shelling out £1,000 for a supposedly premium product.

Bye bye Vaio, you won't be missed.

By Trippynet on 6 Feb 2014

Sony laptops - not great

My last laptop was a Sony one. It was OK, but not great and the battery died within a couple of years. My current laptop is a Dell, which I buy a lot of for work, and they are much better.

I've repaired various Sony models for other people (when I could get the parts, which is always a problem with Sony), and not been particularly impressed with any of them. They are mostly expensive for what they are, and the build quality often isn't great.

By valeofyork on 6 Feb 2014

@invalidscreenname

"Triple posting aside - it took you a day to change an optical drive?"

Yes, he did it three times.

By FrancisKing on 6 Feb 2014

Sony laptops - not great

I also thought of Sony Vaio as a premium brand. First the keyboard stopped working properly, and then the power supply failed.

By FrancisKing on 6 Feb 2014

I'm not surprised by this either

Sony Vaios didn't seem to offer anything over the competition, yet always cost more.

I brought a Vaio Laptop and have been completely underwhelmed. Crappy trackpad, the base cracked when the lid of forced a little, crap LED screen, full of bloatware, all at a price £200 more than the equivalent DELL. I thought that differential might have meant something, but no.

I still mourn the passing of Thinkpad when they were owned by IBM. Now they were machines to behold!

By wyson on 6 Feb 2014

Sony made brilliant machines...

...which were genuinely innovative and, in my experience a pleasure to use. I still have one, the fourth in the line and I don't expect to stop using it any time soon.

By jmiii on 6 Feb 2014

Innovative?

Out of interest, what was innovative about them? Sleek and eye-catching I can go with. But of all the Vaios I've seen, none had any radical features or anything like that. They were just shiny, expensive, and surprisingly flimsy.

By Trippynet on 7 Feb 2014

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