Sony to shut down Alpha DSLR/SLT lines
Sony's new CEO, Kaz Hirai, faces huge problems in turning around a
sprawling technology giant with multiple divisions that are in deep
trouble. Formerly head of the highly successful Playstation unit, he
is now turning his attention on loss-making divisions of the Sony
empire following his appointment today.
As with Playstation, his focus will be on delivering a great consumer
experience based on combining devices with content. In his own words,
"ďIíve said all along whether itís smartphones or any other device;
itís about the consumer experience, itís not about the device itself.
Having great devices in and of itself? Itís not what the consumer is
looking for. We need to bring a great experience.Ē
Hirai concedes that ďthereís a lot to fixĒ. He says ďI think the most
important thing as we start on April 1st is to understand where we
need to be headedĒ. To imply that Japanís biggest brand doesnít know
that already may be shocking, but itís not surprising.
One of the worst performing Sony divisions is the camera division. In
this division, it is all about *devices* with little or no opportunity
for selling Sony *content*. So it is only to be expected that Kaz
Kirai would be looking look very hard at whether cameras can truly
play a part in his new vision for Sony.
History has shown that Sony's purchase of the camera division of
Konica Minolta has been a commercial disaster. Sales of Sony Alpha
DSLRs have plummeted and the new SLT cameras with pellicle mirrors and
electronic viewfinders have not been a commercial success.
Conversely, NEX has been a technical success but sales are being held
back because of a very poor selection of available lenses.
Sony claims to be working towards a 20-25% market share have proved
hollow with the company struggling to achieve much more than a quarter
of that. Once again, NEX has outperformed Alpha but NEX sales are
being held back by a poor selection of low quality lenses.
So the decision has been made to abandon the Alpha range which,
despite massive investment, is still losing Sony serious amounts of
cash. Instead, Sony will concentrate on the NEX range which will be
boosted by investment in better lenses.
Hirai recognises the enormous value that content can bring to devices
to create a great experience and calls it "Real Fuel". The challenge
with NEX, as with any camera division, is that Sony cannot sell
content, only devices. The hope is that if the devices are good
enough, device owners can provide the content and ape "Real Fuel".
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