Sony revised its forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31 and revealed partial results for the last three months of 2014. Strong console and camera sensors sales have helped offset weak performance in other areas, including mobile.
Starting with the mobile unit, Sony sold around 11.9 million smartphones in FQ3, which resulted in an operating profit of around $80 million. Sales volume is up 27 percent compared to the same quarter last year. However, due to the massive impairment charge that Sony booked in September, the company estimates a total loss of around $1.83 billion for the mobile unit in the fiscal year ending March 31.
Furthermore, Sony announced more job cuts, with another 1,100 workers to be laid off over the next year, in addition to the 1,000 already announced.
All in all, Sony’s mobile unit continues to bog down the company, fueling calls for the company to spin off or restructure the unit, the way it did with laptops and TVs last year.
Luckily for CEO Kaz Hirai, the PlayStation and camera sensors units provided Sony with unexpected buoyancy, allowing the company to reduce its net loss forecast for FY2014 down to $1.44 billion, compared to the previous forecast of $1.95 billion. Sony sold more consoles than it anticipated over the holiday season, while its camera sensors were in high demand thanks to the success of Apple’s new iPhones.
With more job cuts, mediocre sales performance, and strong competition, the future is cloudy for Sony’s mobile unit. Under Hirai, mobiles have been touted as one of the pillars supporting the One Sony philosophy, but real growth has so far eluded the Japanese company in this area. For 2015, Sony plans to focus on fewer devices, and there are credible rumors pointing to a return to longer release cycles for the Xperia series.