Not-So-Sunny Sony?

It's no secret that Sony's (NYSE: SNE  ) been having some growing pains, but its second-quarter earnings report displayed the ravages of a pretty nasty year for the electronics giant.

Sony's earnings dropped 94.1% to $14 million, or $0.01 per share. Sales increased 8.3% to $15.71 billion. We already knew that Sony's massive battery recall was going to have an impact on its profits, and in its second-quarter report it reported a $177 million operating loss, which includes charges related to the incident that has affected major computer manufacturers like Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) , Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , Lenovo, and many more. It's a disappointment when you consider that last quarter there were arguably some signs that things were looking up.

Furthermore, anybody who's been following Sony knows that the PlayStation 3 launch is coming up, and that's been a rather bumpy journey over the last year, given the fact that the console was originally supposed to be launched in the spring. An operating loss was recorded as a result of charges related to the upcoming launch.

Sony is an electronics giant, but it's also involved in media. Unfortunately, its Pictures segment was a drag, with a large roster of movie releases (and related marketing expenditures), and disappointing performance of the movies Zoom and All the King's Men. Therefore, despite the fact that sales increased 12.1% in that segment, it still suffered an operating loss of $129 million.

But the electronics segment was a bright spot, with a 12.1% increase in revenues, although operating income still dropped 71.4% in that segment. It also cited strength in its Bravia LCD televisions, its Vaio laptop, and its Cyber-shot digital cameras.

Sony's financial services segment also had a difficult quarter, with revenue down 4.4% and operating income down 38.7%. Sony BMG, its musical arm, increased sales by a mere 1% and reported a net loss of $39 million.

Although this quarter isn't much of a surprise given Sony's rough year, the possibility remains that the Sony brand is suffering significant damage. Although there are some things to look forward to, like the PlayStation 3 launch, many of Sony's recent missteps here point to quality control issues and maybe even communication problems within its large organization. While these aren't unfixable issues, they're not the types of things companies remedy overnight, either.

I know many investors look for companies that are down on their luck when they're searching for bargain buys for the long haul. However, I think it's too soon to call good times ahead for Sony -- it's still got a lot of work ahead.

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Alyce Lomaxdoes not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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