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Sony May Sell PC Business, But VAIO Fans Should Not Worry

By - Source: Nikkei | B 9 comments

There's talk that Sony may sell its VAIO business to Lenovo or create a stand-alone company.

Two similar reports were published on Tuesday, both of which state that Sony is trying to sell off its PC division. Nikkei reports that Sony is talking with investment fund Japan Industrial Partners, whereas Reuters hears that Sony is in talks with Lenovo. Sony merely states that it's looking at various possibilities for the VAIO line.

Sources told Nikkei over the weekend that a new plan between Japan Industrial Partners and Sony would see the establishment of a new company that would purchase the VAIO lineup. This company would not only continue the sale of VAIO devices, but handle the after-sales service. The sale price is estimated at $391 million USD to $489 million USD.

Sources also said that Sony will take a small stake in the new company to facilitate the transfer. Meanwhile, the company will attempt to solidify its business base at home and maintain operations in overseas markets where the VAIO brand is popular. Other countries and regions will no longer see VAIO devices.

If Sony does take this route, a large number of the company's nearly 1,000 PC division workers will be transferred over to the new company, including executives, while the rest of the crew will be moved to other departments within Sony. Currently, all parties involved with the rumored sale are discussing whether Sony's PC site in Nagano Prefecture would still handle production and R&D in the new company.

As for Reuters' side of the story, sources state that Sony is trying to sell its PC business to Lenovo. The Chinese company declined to comment on the report, and Sony indicated that the report is inaccurate. The latter comments seem to point at the previous Nikkei story.

Just last month, Lenovo revealed an agreement to purchase IBM's low-end server business for $2.3 billion. Then last week the company announced its intentions to purchase Motorola's handset business. Naturally, it's easy to assume that talk of purchasing Sony's VAIO unit would fit into Lenovo's current spending spree. But investing in what seems to be a declining market just doesn't make sense: buying into the smartphone and server business does.

Then again, according to Reuters, Lenovo earns around 80 percent of its revenue from PCs. However, on the mobile front, Lenovo struggles when it comes to the global smartphone market due to a lack of patents and distribution network. The Motorola deal should help Lenovo beef up its global presence, which currently is just above 6 percent.

So what does all this mean for VAIO customers? That depends on which route Sony plans to take. If Sony were to retain some ownership, customers should still receive the same level of assistance with technical issues, and buyers should still see the same quality and innovation that makes the VAIO name popular.

Should Sony really be in a selling mood, VAIO fans might not have anything to worry about if Lenovo picked up Sony's PC business. After all, Lenovo purchased the notebook business from IBM and so far hasn't disappointed even the most faithful of ThinkPad fanatics.

Display 9 Comments.
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  • 1 Hide
    jacobian , February 4, 2014 5:52 PM
    Not a big loss. The VAIO notebooks have gone downhill a long time ago. Samsung is much better. The "loss" of IBM Thinkpad to Lenovo was a lot more tragic because the IBM-era Thinkpads are excellent, specially T series and better.
  • 0 Hide
    geof2001 , February 4, 2014 6:46 PM
    wait.. there are vaio fans? They have been over heating bad soldering nightmare bricks of doom for like 10 years. How is this possible.
  • -1 Hide
    Nada190 , February 4, 2014 6:51 PM
    Good, their BIOS is from the ancient times. I mean I love my laptop but I wish i had brought a Asus or something.
  • -1 Hide
    oj88 , February 4, 2014 7:57 PM
    It would be stupid for Lenovo to buy VAIO. Look what happened to HP after it bought Compaq. History repeated itself years later after Acer bought Gateway, But who knows, the same Gianfranco Lanci made the deal for Acer is now the COO of Lenovo. Mr. Lanci has been famous for his ambitious expansion which almost sunk the boat of Acer.
  • 0 Hide
    tableholder , February 4, 2014 9:39 PM
    If only sony did not try to be the mac of pc's. Their laptops or as a matter of fact, most of their products are always overpriced.
  • -1 Hide
    nekromobo , February 4, 2014 10:32 PM
    This rumour was dismissed by Sony. Its false.
  • 0 Hide
    digiex , February 5, 2014 5:59 AM
    Just as I suspected before reading the article...LENOVO
  • 0 Hide
    Gunbuster , February 5, 2014 6:45 AM
    They don't even have any gold, pink or neon $4,000 special edition laptops anymore.
  • 0 Hide
    Reynar , February 5, 2014 10:41 AM
    If Sony does sell, customer service can only improve. My sister's Vaio laptop stopped working after about 20 minutes of use. After 2 weeks waiting to get the HDD replaced Sony returns it with the OS fried, Sony tech support says it's not their problem, warranty is hardware only eventhough they screwed it up. Tried to restore everything from the restore discs, 2 sets so 8 DVDs, they don't work. So I ended up replacing the HDD and buying Win7 to fix eveything myself.I remember when buying Sony meant paying a little more but getting the best quality. Now it's so bad I'm never buying Sony again and even considered, for about 3 seconds, buying an iCr@p mp3 player.