Sony’s CEO, Kazuo Hirai, recently spoke to a room full of journalists, and according to Reuters, he made some key announcements regarding the company’s smartphone focus. He said that right now, Sony wants to focus on Europe and Japan, which combined account for 60% of the global smartphone market. Once they’re healthy in those regions, they’ll invest more resources into the United States and China.
“It’s not realistic to try to do everything at once. In the U.S. we’ll start gradually.”
Has Hirai gone mad? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say yes. As someone who lives in Europe, and has seen Nokia’s monumental error in judgement of ignoring the United States, the alarm bells are ringing in my mind. While yes, some trends start in the East and then head West, when it comes to smartphones, what Americans want typically translates to what the world wants. Because most companies pump most of their ad dollars into the US, those are the ads that get consumed all around the world, and they resonate.
What really bugs me is that Sony is so close to being awesome that they can taste it. Their phones just need better screens and slightly better software and then boom, they’d be on par with Samsung. Think about it, how many companies can you name that make their own displays, their own camera sensors, their own batteries. Very few come to mind, and Sony is on that very short list.