According to a recent press release, Sony will soon sell its VAIO computer division to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), a Japanese investment firm. The two groups are still negotiating the details of the arrangement, which Sony says will be complete by the end of March this year. Once the deal is complete, JIP will concentrate firmly on a Japanese market.
“Sony and JIP will now proceed with due diligence and negotiate detailed terms and conditions of the business transfer, targeting the conclusion of a definitive agreement by the end of March 2014” the press release states. “Following reevaluation of the product lineup, the new company is expected initially to concentrate on sales of consumer and corporate PCs in the Japanese market and seek to optimize its sales channels and scale of operations, while evaluating possible further geographic expansion. “
Sony cites “drastic changes in the global PC industry” as its main driver for seeking to rid itself of the VAIO brand. The company says they will cease producing PC products, but some 250 to 300 Sony employees should soon be hired by JIP to help develop products after the brand changes hands.
Sam Byford at The Verge briefly discusses the ups and downs in VAIO’s history. He says the brand was established in 1996 with the PCV desktop line of computers, and he notes the creativity of the brand with its ultra-mobile PCs and its Vaio P, a subnotebook computer.
Byford mentions that Sony’s line of computers was admired by some, including Steve Jobs, for its high-end designs. However, that didn’t save the company from losing money alongside other PC giants in recent years. Research firm Gartner reported last year that second-quarter PC shipments in 2013 dropped by 10.9 percent compared to the previous year.
From this point forward, Sony says it will focus on the development of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets in order to continue to support its customers and keep its business optimally-staffed. However, restructuring the company — including changes to Sony’s television business outline in its press release — will have the anticipated side effect of a “headcount reduction” of approximately 5,000 company workers. The company will allocate approximately 20 billion yen in FY13 and approximately 70 billion yen in FY14 to facilitate its overall plan to restructure.