By Rich W Woods
You’re right. Sony isn’t gone. They still kinda sorta exist. This week, Sony announced that they will be spinning off their audio and video divisions. This comes a year after they spun off their TV business as well as their Vaio PC business. So what’s left?
Sony’s CEO, Kazuo Hirai told investors that they had to consider selling off their smart phone and TV business completely. Ok, so they still have a smart phone business, at least for now. They have a gaming business as well. There’s Sony Pictures, which is probably going to be the next to go (remember the Sony Hack?).
Sony also has some profitable businesses, which lie in their business to business (B2B) divisions. They sell smart phone cameras, the most important of which is the one that goes in Apple’s iPhones. Of course, they also sell the cameras that go in the Nexus 6 and the OnePlus One. They also sell insurance in Japan or some crap like that. In fact, last year there was a rumor that that very insurance business is the only part of Sony that makes money.
So let’s take a look at these things. What we’re left with is Xperia smart phones, Sony Pictures, PlayStation, and smart phone cameras.
Sony Xperia Smart Phones
When I said I’d miss Sony, this is what I meant, specifically. Sony has always been known as a quality brand from when I was a kid. For the first time in my life, I reviewed a Sony Xperia this year in both the Sony Xperia Z3 and the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. They are both amazing phones. They are so amazing in fact, that after I returned my review units, I purchased a Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.
Although they have never really made a splash in the United States, I stand by my word that the Sony Xperia Z3 was the best Android phone to be released in 2014. It’s sad that of Sony stops making smart phones, the industry will be losing something. It’s not as if Samsung was leaving the business. If that was the case, we wouldn’t be losing anything.
Unfortunately, I would put Sony’s smart phone business second to go on that list of four things. Sony just doesn’t really push their phones. The Xperia Z1 and Z3 have been available on T-Mobile and they made an exclusive Z3v for Verizon. Despite that, I have never even seen an Xperia commercial on TV. I wish that wasn’t the case because the loss of the Xperia brand is a loss to the smart phone industry.
Sony Pictures is dead in the water. We all remember what happened. Sony got hacked. North Korea got blamed, although anyone who knows anything about the subject knows that is not what happened. In fact, anyone who knows anything knows that it’s impossible to really know who did it at all.
Emails, salaries, social security numbers, and just about anything you can imagine being in Sony’s computers were leaked. No one is ever going to trust this company again. This is certainly the next Sony division to go.
Video games are not the most lucrative of businesses to be in. Remember when Amazon made the Kindle Fire for dirt cheap and we all assumed that they sold them at a loss and they made up for them on services such as books and movies? Or how the Nexus 7 was dirt cheap and we assume Google made up for it by selling data about us out the back door?
It doesn’t quite work that way with video games. With video games, you sell what these days is a powerful, graphics oriented PC for under $400 and consumers buy their games from third parties. Neither Sony nor Microsoft make money on their PlayStation or Xbox endeavors.
Microsoft has a better shot of making money off of Xbox than Sony has with PlayStation. Think of it this way. Remember Dropbox? Dropbox is a cloud storage solution. Now that Microsoft has integrated OneDrive into Windows, Apple has iCloud integrated into iOS and Mac OS, and Google has Google Drive integrated into their services, why would anyone ever use Dropbox, which is the most expensive cloud storage solution?
That’s how these services work. A third party company makes a great service or product, then a big company makes the same thing and integrates it into their products, making it more convenient for you to use theirs. Xbox will integrate closely into Windows 10, so it’s a benefit to Microsoft. If Apple or Google decide to get into gaming, watch out Sony.
Smart Phone Cameras
Take a business class and you’ll find out that B2B is the most lucrative form of business. Customers keep coming back for more and more. You think these companies really want to sell stuff to you cheap fucks? Oh yea, they can make $700 in revenue from selling you an Xperia Z3 or they can sell 75 million smart phone cameras to Apple alone.
Sony is a top brand name in smart phone cameras. Look at some of the best smart phone cameras. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are right at the top of the list and the Sony Xperia Z3 is up there as well. What am I saying? Everyone knows that Sony makes great cameras. At the end of the day, this is one part of Sony that is not going anywhere.
Sony will be Missed
When I was a kid, way back in the day, I remember going to the local Sam Goody’s and picking up a Sony CD IT blank cassette tape. They were more expensive than the Maxell alternatives but they were worth it. Sony promised CD quality cassette tape recording and in my ears, they delivered.
Remember the original PlayStation? The original PlayStation was possibly the best video game console of all time. Well, there’s the NES and SNES, but the original PlayStation is definitely in my top five, if not my top three. It was about as advanced of a console as it gets before things really started to change. After that, video game consoles became more of a computer. They had operating systems. Back then, games didn’t have bugs because they had to be ready to ship when they did ship. There were no updates.
All of my life, Sony has stood for quality. If you were buying something electronic, whether it was a TV, computer, CD player, DVD player, blu ray player, blank tapes, video game console, blank DVDs, smart phones, or anything else and if you didn’t do a single bit of research going in to buy it, you were safe if you picked the item that said Sony on the box.
Most recently for me, it’s been the Sony Xperia Z3 and Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. These phones are so amazing, it’s astonishing. There is nothing I would like more than to see Sony turn it around, but I just don’t see it happening.