Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai on Monday took the helm at the company’s consumer electronics division in a bid to stem a decline in sales that seems set to maintain the company’s run of losses in recent years.
The company revealed on Friday that Hirai would become officer in charge of UX, product strategy, and sales and marketing Platform, a newly created division that incorporates the Japanese company’s mobile phone and TV businesses. Sony is attempting to stem declines in sales that could lead it to report its sixth annual loss in seven years, Bloomberg reported.
Sony cut its 2014 smartphone sales forecasts from 50 million to 43 million shortly after reporting a surprise first-quarter profit on the back of strong sales of its PlayStation games console, Bloomberg said in a separate article.
The Japanese company enjoyed a top three spot in global mobile phone shipments during its Sony Ericsson joint venture with Swedish equipment manufacturer Ericsson, but like many legacy device makers has struggled to compete against rivals including Apple and Samsung in recent years.
Sony is now eyeing the U.S. as a potential avenue for increasing sales. The company reportedly agreed a smartphone supply deal with Japanese carrier SoftBank covering the sale of its Xperia smartphones in Japan that would also cover the operator’s U.S. subsidiary Sprint.
The first Xperia smartphones could ship to the operators before the year-end, and would be Sony’s first direct dealing with SoftBank and its subsidiary, Reuters and Bloomberg reported.
T-Mobile US is currently the only carrier in the market offering Sony handsets, Reuters reported, so any deal to extend availability through Sprint could provide a welcome boost to the Japanese company’s shipments.
Ironically, the deal could also benefit Sprint, which is revising its price plans after SoftBank reportedly pulled out of talks to acquire T-Mobile US and merge the pair.