Sony gets a booster shot from Bond, Adele
BRITISH pop diva Adele and suave spy James Bond may be unlikely stars in Sony's turnaround but the firm is betting they are key to a corporate makeover that analysts say still has a long way to go.
It is leaning on movies, music and soaring sales of the PlayStation video-game console in its bid to scrap years of eye-watering losses.
Last week, Sony recorded a nine-month net profit of almost US$2 billion (S$2.9 billion), reversing a year-earlier loss, with PS4 sales topping a record 30 million units in the autumn.
Sony partly credited the results to its Hollywood studio's release of Spectre, the latest instalment in the Bond series, and its music label's top-selling Adele album 25 - along with boy band One Direction's Made In The A.M.
The company is on target for only its second annual profit since the 2008 global financial crisis.
Under one-time US games boss Kazuo Hirai, it launched a desperate restructuring that included layoffs and asset sales.
But Mr Hirai staunchly refused to abandon a struggling TV unit.
Battered by stiff competition from lower-cost rivals from Taiwan and South Korea, Sony was also outmanoeuvred in smartphones by iPhone maker Apple and Samsung.
Now, nearly four years after Mr Hirai got the top job, analysts say the company must still decide what it wants to be dominant in.
"It's nonsense for Sony to go back to the good old days. Sony is no longer a young, small company," Kazuhiko Toyama, head of Tokyo-based management consultant Industrial Growth Platform, said.
Sony should favour specialist components - such as developing technology focused on self-driving vehicles - rather than trying to save its battered consumer electronics business, Mr Toyama said.
The company scooped up Toshiba's image sensor business as it looks to bolster its position as a global leader in the components which are found in smartphones and other mobile devices.
Last week, Sony said it was moving its PlayStation business to Silicon Valley and consolidating game-console offerings under one roof, underscoring its view that the division is key to its future.