Pundits have been saying that things needed to change at Sony
Sony announced that it will slash 10,000 workers from its payroll worldwide, close 11 manufacturing plants, and eliminate or reduce 15 unprofitable electronics units. "Wow, 10,000 workers, 11 plants, and 15 units -- that's big!" you might say. But when one considers that Sony's global workforce amounts to 150,000 employees and that the company had 913 subsidiaries and 56 affiliates as of March 15, well, the changes don't look so grand. Back when Stringer was head of Sony's U.S. operations, he cut 9,000 workers in the United States alone.
Still, this latest move has to be put in context. Stringer is now the head of the Japanese giant, not just a regional chief. Given the more conservative Japanese business culture, the current changes may be all that he can manage, especially since he's dealing with the sacred core electronics business. Not surprisingly, the cuts will hurt in the near term, as the company now expects to report a loss for this fiscal year of $90 million versus a prior forecast of a $90 million profit.
The latest medicine, though, seems to fall short of what is needed to restore Sony's preeminence. Apple's
Competing in these cutthroat segments will require a united and focused Sony; that's exactly Stringer is striving to achieve. But given the breadth of Sony's products and services and the fragmented nature of its operations, the current restructuring seems too meager to be much help.
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Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer in Chicago. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.