Yole: Sony was a leader in the charge-coupled device (CCD) legacy technology and succeeded in the transition to CMOS, becoming the undisputed leader in 2014. Could you explain how Sony, as an image sensor company, has succeeded in beating the odds of disruption and did not end up like Kodak, IBM, or Nokia?
Yasuhiro Ueda: The book “Innovator’s Dilemma” describes how disruptive technologies impacted the disk drive industry and how existing players unable to properly adopt the transition fell behind. This may have been the case for the companies you mentioned. In addition the book also describes how technologies can be among the extended lines of product evolution. We didn’t position CMOS image sensors as a revolutionary, disruptive, product totally different to CCDs but instead found them to be among the extended lines of our CCD evolution. Transition necessities in CCD were led by our customer’s needs for taking high definition videos. CCD works fine handling 480p SD resolution videos but higher speed HD is difficult. As a sensor division it was then just a matter of course to consider our transition to CMOS sensors, as they have much greater speed advantages. We didn’t position this move as anything innovative as the evolution was a process driven by our customers’ needs.
Yole: How do you see the overall evolution of the industry in areas such as M&A and the business models of the players? How do you see the consolidation of the industry? 2014 has been a very important year with much consolidation. Is Sony interested in taking part in it?
Yasuhiro Ueda: When we see the players they all have different roles in the market and from this point of view we don’t think there will be a necessity for further consolidation. Having said we find there are too many module makers today and we feel this is where the need to consolidate will arise.
|Source: Status of the CIS industry 2015 report, Yole, Feb 2015|