Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sony to Spin-Off Image Sensor Business?

Among many comments on yesterday's Sony Corporate Strategy meeting, Financial Times stands out claiming that Sony will likely spin off its image sensor business in future. Here is the quote, believe it or not:

"Sony plans to make the department responsible for the Walkman brand a separate subsidiary in October. This would likely be followed by the spin-off of the device division including image sensors in the future, according to Kazuo Hirai, [Sony] chief executive."

Update: EETimes too quotes FT article on the image sensor business spin-off.

Update #2: Nikkei quotes Sony CEO intending to spin-off most businesses and keep the HQ small:

"We will spin off businesses that are currently run by the main body one by one," Hirai said. "(By leaving only departments related to management, R&D, etc to the main body), we will make small headquarters to increase the speed of making management strategies and decisions."


  1. Mircon spun off the sensor unit into Aptina and it was disaster. Hope Sony would learn some lessons from that!!!

  2. Image sensors and PlayStation are the only money makers at Sony. The rest of their businesses are essentially boat anchors. Their image sensor business is vertically integrated and self sufficient (tech, fab, etc.). Aptina's was not. Plus Micron was a commodity play while the sensor business was a high-touch business.

  3. we're all engineers.
    it is their financial services

    1. Sony (core) do seem to want to be focused on software (including entertainment) for their primary business. And they do make money in that sector. It's the hardware that's giving them problems. The EE Times made a lot of synergy not actually working.

      Of course, they'll still own the spin offs (until they sell them off) so they will bring in income they but they won't be managed by Sony CEO. Perhaps that might improve the spin-offs focus focus?

  4. I think that the main problem comes from this synergy between hardware/software/content. They thought that this could build a captive ecosystem, but unfortuantely this is not the case. Since fewer and fewer people would like to pay the digital contents. In this case, the copyright control and also some artificial limitation limits their hardware sells despite of the excellent quality products.
    If they can split these business units and give them a free-hand action, then they can succeed again.

  5. Cross patent agreement between Sony and Aptina does not work anymore after ON acquiring Aptina. It is a very logic step by Sony to spin-off their imaging sector.


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