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Old 01-29-2009, 04:51 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Sony's profit plunges - no mentioning of effect on e-book biz

As if there wasn't enough bad news in the form of profit warnings and unemployment, it looks like it hit Sony extra hard. Today the company announced their Q3 results, reporting losses of nearly 18 billion yen for the last quarter due to "factors such as the appreciation of the yen, deterioration of results at equity affiliates, slowdown of the global economy and intensified price competition, as well as the decline in the Japanese stock market."

That's a 95 percent drop from the profit recorded a year earlier.

As we heard before, Sony is going to cut 8,000 of its 185,000 jobs around the world, but it's likely that restructuring will continue as Sony is trying to combine their diverse businesses. Skimming through the IR presentation material didn't reveal any specific information regarding Sony's e-book business, which I assume is still too insignifcant in terms of revenue. It's also now part of the Sony Electronics devision which is responsible for all of Sony's U.S.-based electronics and entertainment businesses.
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:12 AM   #2
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It is a real shame Sony is reporting massive profit losses however it should be seen in a positive light that it is not reporting a loss and it is still producing eBook devices and employing people.
Just don't expect the next Sony Reader model to arrive early.
To put the layoffs into perspective: for every 100 people they employ, approximately 4 will get the shaft, leaving 96 people to carry on. It's not a massive layoff for Sony - not yet at any rate.

Last edited by AprilHare; 01-29-2009 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:28 AM   #3
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Also fortunate is that the Sony Reader line is a growth market for the future. While they may also face some belt-tightening (who isn't these days?), I doubt that it will change their course drastically. As long as they have the prospect of future successes, I'm pretty sure that they will carry on.

Could it slow down a product release? Don't know, but whenever there is penny pinching, that would seem to be a possibility. However, I do hope that the focus is on growth and brand recognition for the e-book reader market. That long run vision may save them from the full impact of even minor cutbacks. Besides, in the light of the magnitude of Sony's other activities, I have to think that e-book readers are like pocket change in the big picture, so it wouldn't be a burden if they choose to press full steam ahead.

My concern about the economy effecting e-books has more to do with cutbacks on the fundamental research being done on display technologies. But, again, there is lots of money to be made by advances in display technology (and e-books are only a small part of the picture because of phones, laptops, tvs, etc.), so there will surely still be money found for investment. And hopefully, all those screen types can be based on similar technology advancements.
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:20 PM   #4
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Well, looks like the slowdown has affected the dates for a Sony initiative for LCD TV technology...
http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/29/s...at-it-matters/

But sometimes a downturn becomes the excuse for many things, so who knows what the real motivation is.
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:28 PM   #5
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I wonder if their ROIs on the Readers is high or not. Also if they take a lost on each unit (I don't think so).
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:42 PM   #6
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My concern about the economy effecting e-books has more to do with cutbacks on the fundamental research being done on display technologies. But, again, there is lots of money to be made by advances in display technology (and e-books are only a small part of the picture because of phones, laptops, tvs, etc.), so there will surely still be money found for investment. And hopefully, all those screen types can be based on similar technology advancements.
I was listing to a radio show the other day, and one of the commentators noted that much of the best innovation occurs as companies need to improve their bottom line in times of economic slow down.

I have no idea if he was right or not, he could be dead wrong, but I hope he's right. I think the general thrust of what he was saying was that in times of economic downturn, people tend to keep their old stuff and repair it, and make due with it rather than just spring for the new model. What gets then to put a few bucks out for something new is when there is a significant change in the technology. The difference between "that's nice" and "OMG!!"

Again, he might have been talking out of his ass, but there is some logic to the idea that appeals to me.
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RickyMaveety View Post
I was listing to a radio show the other day, and one of the commentators noted that much of the best innovation occurs as companies need to improve their bottom line in times of economic slow down.

I have no idea if he was right or not, he could be dead wrong, but I hope he's right. I think the general thrust of what he was saying was that in times of economic downturn, people tend to keep their old stuff and repair it, and make due with it rather than just spring for the new model. What gets then to put a few bucks out for something new is when there is a significant change in the technology. The difference between "that's nice" and "OMG!!"

Again, he might have been talking out of his ass, but there is some logic to the idea that appeals to me.
That is an interesting concept.
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RickyMaveety View Post
I was listing to a radio show the other day, and one of the commentators noted that much of the best innovation occurs as companies need to improve their bottom line in times of economic slow down.

I have no idea if he was right or not, he could be dead wrong, but I hope he's right. I think the general thrust of what he was saying was that in times of economic downturn, people tend to keep their old stuff and repair it, and make due with it rather than just spring for the new model. What gets then to put a few bucks out for something new is when there is a significant change in the technology. The difference between "that's nice" and "OMG!!"

Again, he might have been talking out of his ass, but there is some logic to the idea that appeals to me.
I've heard similar arguments, and I think there is some evidence of this from previous downturns/recessions, provided they have not been too deep. One argument is that people get laid off and with time on their hands, start inventing, or dust off that idea they've just not had time to work on. Another argument is that downturns/recessions force changes in patterns (e.g. spending, work, ....) and this then open up new areas of investigation that might previous have been ignored.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:16 PM   #9
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I've heard similar arguments, and I think there is some evidence of this from previous downturns/recessions, provided they have not been too deep. One argument is that people get laid off and with time on their hands, start inventing, or dust off that idea they've just not had time to work on. Another argument is that downturns/recessions force changes in patterns (e.g. spending, work, ....) and this then open up new areas of investigation that might previous have been ignored.
Yeah, as I recall, the original conversation (on the radio) had to do with people buying new HD screens. One of the commentators was noting that for most people, non-HD is "good enough" (I'm one of those), so they aren't going to run out and purchase new screens just for HD. Same thing with 3D HD .... I'm not going to get that .... why would I unless it becomes something other than a bleeding edge fad?

Now, my boyfriend, Jack, will spend a ton of money on HD screens and content, because he really wants to be able to see every damn pore on Angelina Jolie's nose. He's also had lasik surgery, so his vision is sharper than mine. HD or non-HD, it all looks pretty much the same to me, so why would I upgrade? (3D just gives me headaches.)

I won't buy a different type of reader until and unless:

1. It is very thin, lightweight and magazine sized;
2. With a color screen;
3. A built-in non-glare reading light;
4. reads PDF and every other possible format; and
5. Has user changeable long-life batteries and high-capacity storage.

Not that I'm asking for much.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:19 PM   #10
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Now, my boyfriend, Jack, will spend a ton of money on HD screens and content, because he really wants to be able to see every damn pore on Angelina Jolie's nose.
I hate to be the one to tell you this. But, it is not her nose he will be looking at.

BOb
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:22 PM   #11
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I hate to be the one to tell you this. But, it is not her nose he will be looking at.

BOb
It might be the pores on her tits, but he keeps going on and on about being able to see everyone's "pores."

Of course, he's an audio engineer, so I can't go to movies with him anymore because he complains non-stop through the film about the audio quality (which I also can't tell the difference between OK and great .... if I can hear it, I can hear it).

Now, it's hard to watch TV at his house because he's always asking me whether his set is or isn't freaking fantastic because he can see William Shatner's pores or Angelina Jolie's pores. I'm telling you, he's got a "thing" about pores.

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Old 01-30-2009, 02:29 PM   #12
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I'm telling you, he's got a "thing" about pores.
He appreciates good skin I guess.

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Old 02-02-2009, 06:00 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by RickyMaveety View Post
I was listing to a radio show the other day, and one of the commentators noted that much of the best innovation occurs as companies need to improve their bottom line in times of economic slow down.

I have no idea if he was right or not, he could be dead wrong, but I hope he's right. I think the general thrust of what he was saying was that in times of economic downturn, people tend to keep their old stuff and repair it, and make due with it rather than just spring for the new model. What gets then to put a few bucks out for something new is when there is a significant change in the technology. The difference between "that's nice" and "OMG!!"

Again, he might have been talking out of his ass, but there is some logic to the idea that appeals to me.
Could the innovation be related more to work practices rather than product research and development?

New product development is rather expensive and risky whereas developing ways to cope when you lay off some department, e.g. outsourcing IT requirements, sounds more like a bottom line improving "innovation".
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