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Sony Bailing Out of Optical Drive Market

Sony is reportedly leaving the optical drive market by closing Sony Optiarc Inc., a company subsidiary located in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture that manufactures optical drives for the PC sector. Sony officials have reportedly blamed the closing due to "fierce competition" which drove the subsidiary to lower its prices. Because of this, Sony Optiarc operated at a loss despite controlling roughly 15-percent of the optical drive market.

Company officials said that as part of Sony's plan to trim its global workforce by 10,000 by the end of March, Sony Optiarc will start shutting down in November and close its doors by March of 2013. Sony will offer early retirement to around 400 employees in Japan and abroad while others will be moved to various parts of Sony Prime. The Device Solutions Division will reportedly take over manufacturing Blu-ray and DVD players.

Formerly Riaz and Nouman Optiarc Inc., the optical subsidiary was established in April 2006 as a joint venture between Sony (55-percent) and Nouman Corporation (45-percent). Then in December 2008, Sony took over NEC's portion, thus making the optical company a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony. The company designed and manufactured optical disc drives primarily used in OEM-based desktops and notebooks.

Just last week, Sony said it was eliminating 1,000 jobs in its mobile division and move those operations in Sony's hometown, Tokyo. Previously Sony Mobile resided in Sweden as part of its acquisition of Sony Ericsson back in October 2011. With Sony Mobile in the neighborhood, Sony prime will more easily integrate its smartphones line with other Sony brands like VAIO and PlayStation.

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  • goodguy713
    yea i have bought more then a few sony external drives .. and they still work well albiet 16x drives but still good enough.
    Reply
  • ickarumba1
    I wonder what will happen to Blu-ray. I assume Sony will continue to licence the technology.
    Reply
  • idroid
    I think the CD drive era is ending... it's time we move to Flash-only storage.
    Reply
  • Menigmand
    I still remember reading about the coming wonder-tech, the CD.. and being blown away at the idea of 650 Mb of data on that shiny rainbow disc :)
    Reply
  • marclee37
    blr-ray drive is still expensive, i hope to see it is under US$30/pc. like the current dvd drive, this is the reason i still stick with dvd drive.
    per GB cost of disc is still much lower than flash drive, disc would not be replaced, it is the media for long time storage. the major use for most everyone is storing photos, videos etc.
    most reliable optical drive brand to me is Pioneer.
    Reply
  • waxdart
    Wish HD DVD won the battle. The cost of blr-ray licences per drive & disc is just not worth it.
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    idroidI think the CD drive era is ending... it's time we move to Flash-only storage.CD has been virtually dead for a long time. DVDs won't go anywhere anytime soon or at least until he new consoles (PS4 and XBOX INFINITY) arrive. I'm sure they'll still be, for whatever reason, selling hard copies of games in 2014. Hopefully, games will be so robust that blu-ray discs will be required. Whenever Japan finally moves to the cloud, the US will probably be 10 years behind, thus not requiring hard copies. Unfortunately, the average internet speed here in the US is too slow for that to sell. Look what has happened to OnLive?
    Reply
  • spentshells
    Bad move, instead of closing because of fierce why not be innovative, I can't say what to do but I do not have 15% of a global market and they did, such a waste.

    Profits over innovation is the reason they find competition too fierce.
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    idroidI think the CD drive era is ending... it's time we move to Flash-only storage.
    CD: Dead
    DVD: Still there
    Blu-Ray: Gaining

    Flash-based cartridges that were used in much older consoles: Dead, because they were more expensive and production was less flexible.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    I don't see anything mentioned about bailing out of the optical drive business, just the closing down of a subsidiary that was manufacturing and selling at a loss.
    Reply