Big cuts loom for Sony

By Stephen Foley

Sony's new chief executive says he will cut 10,000 jobs and slash research and development spending on everything but mobile devices, cameras and gaming consoles.

Kazuo Hirai, who took over from Welsh-born Sir Howard Stringer this month, hinted he might even ditch the company's historic television manufacturing business.

Given the glacial pace of decision-making at the Japanese electronics giant, these were bombshells. Whether they will satisfy shareholders is a different question.

Analysts noted that despite the blizzard of revenue targets, profit goals and restructuring promises in Hirai's presentation, the company's operational future remains thinly sketched, and difficult.

What is for sure is that Sony is about to post its biggest-ever loss, which it estimated this week at 520 billion ($7.73 billion) for the financial year just ended.

Spiralling costs in consumer electronics and disappointing sales, mean Sir Howard's promise of a 5 per cent operating margin was as elusive at the end of his reign as it was throughout.

Hirai promised it again yesterday.

"Sony will change," he said at the 65-year-old company's Tokyo headquarters. "I will definitely change Sony and revive it."

- Independent

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