Sony considers kissing PC division goodbye

Sony’s PC division has proven a weak link for the company, with the electronics giant estimating massive losses for last year

Sony's Vaio computer division has struggled in recent years, with the domination of Apple, Google and Samsung in the PC market. The company is currently in talks with a Japanese investment fund over selling the unit

Once one of the leading and stylish PC brands, Sony’s Vaio computer division has struggled in recent years as part of the move by consumers towards tablets and other mobile devices. Such has been the decline in the business that Sony is in discussions with a Japanese investment fund over its potential sale.

In a profit warning announced on Wednesday, Sony revealed that it expected a loss for the last year of Y110bn. Just last month the company saw its credit rating downgraded by Moody’s. In light of the downward turn in results, the company is planning on a major restructuring of its operations. This includes the selling off of the Vaio PC unit and the cutting of around 5,000 jobs.

In a profit warning announced on Wednesday, Sony revealed that it expected a loss for the last year of Y110bn

The Vaio division has been making considerable losses in recent years, and the rumoured sale for just Y50bn to Japan Industrial Partners reflects a business that has declined massively since its heyday a decade ago. At the beginning of the millennium, Sony Vaio’s were by far and away the most stylishly designed PC computers, coming close to the hugely popular, if expensive, laptops from Apple.

The company is struggling to remain relevant in a world dominated by the likes of Google, Apple and Samsung. While it plans to remain in the smartphone, television and video games businesses, Japan’s largest electronics company has needed to gain more focus in recent years.

The announced restructuring is welcome, and a focus on living room-based consumer electronics – where it is widely praised – is clearly something that it should stick with. However, the smartphone division, Sony Ericsson, is still muddled. Unsure whether to stick with Google’s Android OS or Microsoft’s Windows platform, the business has seen little uptake from consumers that prefer a more consistent offering.