Sony's letting other companies make laptops in the Vaio name. What do you think this will do to the prestige of the Sony line?
As far as Windows-based laptops go, Sony makes some of the most stylish and expensive ones. Now Sony is planning on launching a secondary laptop division that will bear the Vaio name, but won't be designed in-house.
Deputy president of Sony Vaio’s Business Group Ryosuke Akahane told PC Pro that it will have a "division one" and a "division two" for its laptop products. Division one will remain in-house and will get the latest in technology, while division two will get the innovations later as they trickle down.
Akahane insists that division two products will still have the same "taste of Vaio, the style of Vaio," despite not being made by the Vaio team. Still, Sony will approve all third party designs and keep the same quality standards.
"The quality criteria itself is no different between division number one and division number two," he said. "We will include new technology [such as the latest processors] in division number one first, and then we can learn and we can get the know-how, then we can transfer [the technology] to the products coming from division two."
So will Sony be making a new sub-brand for consumers to differentiate which laptops are designed by which division? Akahane answered, "No. We had a discussion for that, but the conclusion is no. Making a new brand is an investment, it’s not efficient, and also for the customer we wanted to enhance the identity of VAIO more and more and for that having a different brand is not good."
Akahane adds that Sony hopes to better compete with HP and Apple with this new strategy.