The division has failed to generate any black ink in eight arduous years. CEO Howard Stringer told The Wall Street Journal that the status quo can't go on, saying that "every TV set we all make loses money." The mediocre conglomerate forecasts a loss north of $1 billion for the fiscal year on the heels of its loss-generating TV business.
Stringer described how the TV industry has devolved into an intensely competitive market as manufacturers raced to win market share. TVs are mostly commoditized, and rivals have little way to differentiate themselves from the next maker, taking pricing power out of the picture and giving all the bargaining power to consumers.
For the next generation of TV sets, Stringer said that there is "a tremendous amount of R&D going into a different kind of TV set" but opted not to delve deeper. While the phrase "different kind" is vague and mysterious enough to spark hope, Sony isn't the type of company known for reinventing the wheel -- unless you count continuous attempts to push proprietary memory formats.
He also acknowledged Apple's
The 3-D fad is essentially dead, but Smart TVs have some promising potential. Google
Can Sony survive the coming sea change? Only time will tell whether it can distinguish itself from its current rivals, such as Panasonic
It had better hurry, though, since Apple's set may see an introduction as early as 2012.