Japan’s leading business publication, KIKKEI, is claiming that Sony’s getting ready to dump 10,000 people from their company payroll. The story is here.
As most of you don’t speak Japanese, I’ll translate it to you. Basically the story says that this cut will result in about a 6 percent workforce reduction as Sony has about 160,000 employees. The drastic moves are part of a total makeover that Sony’s going through that comes in the wake of a disastrous decade with the last four years resulting in losses.
Sony hasn’t innovated in years. Let’s be honest here. This isn’t going to work. They need to do more than cut costs. They can’t continue to be a me-too kind of company and stand by and watch their Korean counterparts like Samsung and LG out-innovate them. And, this has isn’t just an HDTV problem. In the 1980s and 1990s, Sony diversified into owning movie studios, theater chains and everything in-between with the capability to be the ONLY turn-key supplier. They had everything that you needed to build a HomeAV or a ProAV system all under one roof.
But, the right hand didn’t talk to the left. The Pro Audio group has a totally separate dealer channel than the Pro Video and display groups have. The ProAV dealers can’t buy HomeAV goods. The ES line, their high-end HomeAV product, is nearly invisible and only caters to those “in the know” — they have an approach that if you don’t know the ES line exists, you weren’t supposed to know — so unless you knew it was even a product line, you wouldn’t even know it was available. This leaves most to think the best stuff is on the shelves at Best Buy.
It’s total chaos and it doesn’t stop there. Every April they have a re-org where people get shifted into new roles and job positions and they’ve done that since the mid 1980s. Their philosophy is that they don’t want you to get too comfortable in one position, so keeping you moving will keep you “on your toes.” Instead, all it does is keep everyone from caring enough about their job as they’ll have to change it anyway, eventually — or when April roles around next.
Sony’s most innovative product is, well, a five-year-old game station. Their newest stuff is a bunch of Apple knock-off gear as they’re still in the ‘hardware in king’ mode where they think that people buy Apple stuff because it looks pretty and moves along fast. Couldn’t be farther from the truth — people buy Apple as it works well and works well together.
Tech support? Don’t get me started. It’s a maze of scripts that assumes everyone calling is STUPID and forces even the seasoned AV vets to go through 10 steps of ridiculousness before getting to even ask a question.
I’m beginning to think that Sony aspires to be the next Philips — a company that can’t do anything right…