updated 09:25 pm EST, Tue March 6, 2012
Sony changes to regain premium image
Sony at uncharacteristic event Tuesday planned a major rethink of its attitudes towards retailers. In an attempt to reclaim its premium image, it was instituting a minimum advertised price for 140 of its product ranges that would prevent retailers from cutting prices too heavily on Sony products. The company's COO Phil Molyneux added that the company was cutting the number of models it offered across the board, including a drop from 40 TVs to 22 as well as reductions in headphones and elsewhere.
Marketing would focus more on higher-end devices, he said, while the company would try to reduce the complexity of its naming schemes. About 300 jobs were also being cut to minimize bureaucracy, while fewer people were being hired to avoid a relapse.
Changes would start taking effect April 1.
The shift was meant both to convey Sony's image as an upscale brand, which Molyneux believed still existed, as well as to reflect it in practice. Sony has been accused in recent years of joining in the race to compete mostly on price and to end up with TVs, PCs, and other devices that aren't significantly better than those from budget brands but still marketed as if in Sony's heyday.
Its cuts will come roughly as Kaz Hirai becomes CEO and institutes what could be the biggest reorientation of Sony in its recent history. Sony has had troubles evading losses and has been a victim of several factors, ranging from a tough world economy to the gradual declines of the PC and TV markets.