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Sony outsourcing some VAIO design to beat Apple, HP

updated 06:25 pm EDT, Thu April 15, 2010

Sony VAIO PCs will get outsourced models

Sony will stop designing all of its VAIO PCs itself, the company's business deputy president Ryosuke Akahane revealed in an interview today. The Japanese PC house will split its line into two tiers, with a top tier being its usual self-designed computers and a new, second tier being designed by a contractor that would simply attach the VAIO name to the design. They would include Sony-specific features like a help button, PCPro was told, but would have Sony only approve the design rather than shape it from the outset.

The Japanese executive insisted that they would be of the same quality but admitted that the newest technology would always go to the first tier, with the outside contractors getting many parts second-hand.

Sony's strategy would be aimed at beating market share leader HP but also Apple, Akahane said. It would help get more products on shelves than Apple's relatively small product range and would be important for a new attempt at synergy in Sony's lineup, where a VAIO PC could sync its behavior with a PS3 or a Sony Ericsson phone. An eventual adaptation of the PlayStation Network could see video bookmarking, where progress made watching a video on one device would be mirrored on another.

The company has long made allusions to a unified media service that would go beyond the PS3 but hasn't said when it would actually become active.

Apple has in recent years had consistently outperformed Sony in the computer market, particularly in the US where the Mac brand is strongest. Both companies aim at the same premium demographic, but Apple's quality reputation along with a more prominent retail network and marketing have sometimes given it an edge. The Sony strategy would stand in direct opposition to Apple's as it would attempt to expand the range with cheaper PCs where Apple has usually resisted price hikes and adding new models.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Strong strategy

    "designed by a contractor that would simply attach the VAIO name to the design"

    Uhm. Sounds... cheap. Nice strategy to deflate your brand value. Way to beat Apple!

  1. gitcypher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Relly Electronista?

    To beat Apple & HP. I thought they just did it to increase their sales. Nice way to w**** out page hits.

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Another word...

    Sony is loosing sales in computers (and everything else of course) so they are out sourcing not only their manufacturing but also designing in order to build super dirt-cheap computers.

  1. tonton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Let me get this straight...

    Sony is trying to beat Apple and HP's success, which is largely due to their excellent artistic design teams (yes, HP has nice design), by doing exactly the opposite of what has proven so successful?

    Good luck with that.

    Or is it possible the author of this article connected this cost-motivated decision to Apple and HP for no reason whatsoever?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: another word

    First, the word is losing, not loosing.

    Second, if they're losing sales with what they have, why would you NOT change to a different strategy? Apparently the Apple model of nice looking high-end computers isn't doing it for them...

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