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What Happens to Sony's PC Business Now?

By - Source: Sony | B 20 comments

Sony announces plans to sell PC line to Japanese investment firm JIP Inc.

Sony has confirmed plans to sell off its PC business to Japan Industrial Partners or JIP Inc. So what does this mean for the Vaio line of computers?

The short answer is not a whole lot in the extreme short term. Sony said today that it will cease in the planning, design, and development of PC products, which includes the Vaio-branded machines. However, the company has a spring 2014 lineup that it plans to launch worldwide, so you will still see Vaio laptops on shelves this year. And, even then, the Vaio spirit will live on at a new company.

Sony said today that as many as 300 employees are expected to be hired by the new JIP-established company. Though Sony doesn't specifically say which departments these employees are coming from, the company did say that they are involved in PC operations including planning, design, development, manufacturing and sales. It's entirely possible that the same people responsible for the design and manufacture of today's Vaios will still be doing the same work six months from now, or a year from now, just in a different office. An office that is more focused on the success of these machines because it's not worrying about the PS4 or the Xperia line of mobile devices.

There was a time when Sony's Vaio computers were some of the hottest laptops around, and the brand still has fans. To that end, Sony plans to provide support for and aftercare services for customers even after it withdraws from the PC market. As an aside, if you've had your eye on a Vaio for a while, now might be the time to get one. One of the only details we do know for certain about the future of Sony's PC business is that JIP will focus on the Japanese market, at least at first. Sony said that JIP will initially concentrate on console and corporate PC sales in Japan and evaluate possible expansion down the road. So once the current generation of Vaio computers passes its sell by date, you won't see anymore for a while.

The real question is how long Sony plans to provide support for current and new users. We've asked the company if it has some kind of cut off in place in terms of date of purchase, or if it will be only offering support for certain models, but have yet to hear back. We'll keep you posted!

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  • -2 Hide
    red77star , February 6, 2014 11:56 AM
    They just quit to have any business with Windows 8 and future flavor of Windows following same Metro concept. Reason? Poor sale...people don't want it. We will see more OEM businesses doing same. I predicted this during Windows 8 beta stage.
  • 2 Hide
    Blazer1985 , February 6, 2014 12:13 PM
    Actually this has almost nothing to do with windows 8 I think (they still sold pc with windows 7 inside). The vaio line was always aimed at the professionals but they made some poor design decisions. A big chunk of customers jumped on the macbook train (a bad choice if you are after multimedia production imho). Besides their nice Z series the top of the F line weighted almost like an alienware while it performed notably slower. Their S line was ALMOST GOOD for everything but REALLY GOOD for nothing. :-(
  • 0 Hide
    ananke , February 6, 2014 12:17 PM
    Nope, SONY is consolidating their high profit businesses. Making PC and TV and in general consumer electronics is not high profit anymore - it became China made commodity, and we are seeing large players exiting towards services - HP, Dell, Sony, etc. SONY is not abandoning just the PC, they will exit the TV business as well. The consumer electronics will be predominantly Chinese and for some time Korean business.SONY is doing great with medical, financial services, super high tech sub-assemblies, image sensors, optics, movie and music production. They will just focus on that, and probably mobile - tablets and phones, in order to promote their high profit generated services.
  • -1 Hide
    Blazer1985 , February 6, 2014 12:18 PM
    The thing that I'm missing the most is the fantastic fhd matte display I had on my old vaio. In this time of "retina" displays everyone seems to forget about color accuracy, dinamic range and awfully reflecting surfaces.
  • -2 Hide
    red77star , February 6, 2014 12:19 PM
    Everything has to do with Windows 8. People jumped on the MacBook train because of Windows 8. Shit is absolutely useless on anything but Phone and Tablet and yet Tablet is crippled there with useless Desktop interface. MS mixed apples and oranges...I would fire whole Windows design team long ago, every one of them. What are they doing? They are adding more useless options to Windows 8.1.1 to close a gap between two different things in such unnatural way that it makes me puke.
  • 0 Hide
    Nada190 , February 6, 2014 1:22 PM
    Well that sucks.
  • -1 Hide
    Nada190 , February 6, 2014 1:22 PM
    Well that sucks.
  • -1 Hide
    Nada190 , February 6, 2014 1:22 PM
    Well that sucks.
  • -1 Hide
    Nada190 , February 6, 2014 1:23 PM
    Sorry my internet hung up for a few secs.
  • 2 Hide
    ikaz , February 6, 2014 1:32 PM
    Everything doesn' t have to do with windows 8 that bit much really the most vocal people who don't like win8 are probably businesses (who wants to retrain a staff on the UI) and tech savy people. Busines won't "turn" to macs unless they are already in house since they not only cost more but they would have to buy new applications and/or train people on the Mac which defeats the purpose of moving. Tech savy people well just downgrade to windows 7. The biggest issue with windows 8 is just UI not the underlining OS. It basically windows 7+ with an ugly UI. It would also most be like taking a lambo remove all the leather replace it with puke green cloth interior, and put a ford fesia shell on it (ok sure there are aero dymanic issues you get the point). Under all crap you still have a supercar just no one would want to be seen with it.
  • 0 Hide
    jupebobpete , February 6, 2014 5:11 PM
    Sony has been in that place where I didn't see them as high end enough to pay for and too expensive to compete with value offerings. I have a Sony laptop that's about four years old, and I have been frustrated by the lack of driver support they offer. Sony has "exclusive" nvidia drivers which prevent me from ever using current drivers. LOTS of bloat ware too. Sorry to see them go but I wasn't likely to buy any more from them anyway.
  • 0 Hide
    w8gaming , February 6, 2014 6:07 PM
    Quote:
    They just quit to have any business with Windows 8 and future flavor of Windows following same Metro concept. Reason? Poor sale...people don't want it. We will see more OEM businesses doing same. I predicted this during Windows 8 beta stage.


    If Windows 8 is the reason then they could have just sells the PC with Windows 7 like HP does. The problem with Sony is unique. Somehow during the last decade Sony has made a very bad name for itself and many of their products do not sell well. Sony was known for its product quality and at the same time charging premium price. But I supposed most people has failed to see how Sony's product quality is any better nowadays. How many of you here still associate Sony brand with quality? If most of you don't, that's essentially the core of Sony's problem, a fading brand name.
  • 0 Hide
    w8gaming , February 6, 2014 6:30 PM
    Quote:
    So, let's get this straight, Sony wants to stop making highly overpriced PCs and laptops so they can do what? So they can start manufacturing and selling highly overpriced smart phones and tablets? No thanks. Ultimately, it comes down to the retail pricing. If manufactures would let go of the hard core profit margin of yesteryear and aim at more realistic and attainable profit goals, they would lower the cost of their computers to compete with the smart device arena. If you make an ultrabook that costs 2-3 times more than a smart tablet, which one do you think the consumer will buy? Nuff said. The real answer in the marketing strategy is simple, accept less profit per item sold and make up the difference by selling more units over time. Where the heck did the Sony Sales Management Team get their business degree, Captain Crunch University?


    Not a good comparison because ultrabook uses more expensive components than a tablet. Intel charges a lot more for an i5 than the highend ARM CPU. And 128GB SSD is a lot more expensive than a 16GB storage. The rest depends on what you compare to. If you compare an ultrabook to an iPad, the price ratio is more like 2 to 1. If you compare an ultrabook to Nexus 7, then the price ratio is more like 4 to 1. But then again, the higher priced components, the Windows OS tax, the bigger battery etc all adds up to more cost. If you want to compare to cheap "PC", Chromebook is cheap and is sells at the price range of Nexus 7. But then again, you are looking at a devices with cheaper components and without the Windows OS tax then.

    And the price alone is not the only factor. Surface Pro is selling at $500 now, which is the same price for a WiFi only iPad. But still iPad is selling in millions in a single quarter, and we don't see Surface Pro sold out in a few days.
  • 1 Hide
    DRosencraft , February 6, 2014 7:11 PM
    If you think this is all to do with Win8, either you're blinded by stupid hate for MSFT and/or Windows, or you have no idea what you're talking about. Sony's laptops have long been in trouble. For years it has been plagued by the fact that it didn't have the gaming or professional development aura to it, yet had the gaming/pro dev pricing. They were always relatively cool, niche systems, (you can even get your name put on it) but the cost didn't match up well and people went with other systems. Then the quality started dropping off and the whole situation got worse for them. Sony has had the same problem across virtually all of its sectors. There was a time everyone wanted a Sony TV, now it's Samsung. Blu-ray was big, but got stepped on by the rapid growth of cloud and streaming services. They were big in music players, but Apple and its iPods crushed that too. They used to be fairly big in cameras, now everyone just uses their smartphone. They had their own music service to try to compete against iTunes, that failed and disappeared. Sony's had troubles all over the place. This was something that was hard to imagine, but honestly was coming from a long way off.
  • 0 Hide
    w8gaming , February 7, 2014 12:58 AM
    Quote:
    If you think this is all to do with Win8, either you're blinded by stupid hate for MSFT and/or Windows, or you have no idea what you're talking about. Sony's laptops have long been in trouble. For years it has been plagued by the fact that it didn't have the gaming or professional development aura to it, yet had the gaming/pro dev pricing. They were always relatively cool, niche systems, (you can even get your name put on it) but the cost didn't match up well and people went with other systems. Then the quality started dropping off and the whole situation got worse for them. Sony has had the same problem across virtually all of its sectors. There was a time everyone wanted a Sony TV, now it's Samsung. Blu-ray was big, but got stepped on by the rapid growth of cloud and streaming services. They were big in music players, but Apple and its iPods crushed that too. They used to be fairly big in cameras, now everyone just uses their smartphone. They had their own music service to try to compete against iTunes, that failed and disappeared. Sony's had troubles all over the place. This was something that was hard to imagine, but honestly was coming from a long way off.


    This comment pretty much sums up all the problems faced by Sony nowadays. Sony is facing disruptive technology from all fronts and their core electronic products no longer sells as well. They used to be big in home audio equipment too but nowadays almost no one buys any.
  • 1 Hide
    cats_Paw , February 7, 2014 1:19 AM
    Good move by Sony. It was not bringing profit and they were out of choices at this point.A japan company may improve the Vaio line, and if possible, make the PC a more common gaming option in Japan (wich would be awsome so their best Console titles have decent PC ports).Yeah, i know, wishfull thinking, but hey: Better a happy ignorant optimist than a sad grumpy pesimist.(After all we will see the boat sink if it does).
  • 0 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , February 7, 2014 10:09 AM
    Quote:
    The thing that I'm missing the most is the fantastic fhd matte display I had on my old vaio. In this time of "retina" displays everyone seems to forget about color accuracy, dinamic range and awfully reflecting surfaces.
    I agree with you on matte - glossy screens suck. That's why I bought Asus N550JV - wonderful high-contrast FHD IPS matte screen. However, Retina screens should not be trashed when it comes to color accuracy: they have 100% sRGB coverage.
  • 0 Hide
    Blazer1985 , February 7, 2014 10:45 AM
    Hi amk, I am not against good hires displays, my comment was against "retina" displays being the equivalent of the megapixel excalation. Apple displays have a nice coverage and a good calibration, true. But the slightest light source behind you turns into a blob of light on the screen and screws it all up :-(
  • 1 Hide
    ex_bubblehead , February 7, 2014 12:44 PM
    Won't miss 'em. VAIO's are among the most technician unfriendly designs ever.
  • 0 Hide
    Whoopi , February 8, 2014 9:22 PM
    Sony after sales service is bad. I wonder if there will be staffs to help in future after purchasing laptop