Sony Mobile, the mobile handset division of Sony Corp., said this week it is slashing 1,000 jobs in an effort to save on operational costs and compete more aggressively in the global smartphone market.
The layoffs, which will reduce Sony Mobile's workforce by about 15 percent, will start this year and continue into 2014, the company said in a statement.
Sony Mobile also said it is shifting its corporate headquarters from Lund, Sweden, to Tokyo, a move that will eliminate 650 jobs -- or more than half of the total 1,000 jobs being cut -- from Sony's Sweden location.
Sony's Swedish headquarters was the last remaining trace of the former joint venture it made with Swedish telecom company Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson more than a decade ago. The venture, known as Sony Ericsson, came to an end in October 2011 when Sony bought out Ericsson's remaining shares and took full ownership of the company, renaming it Sony Mobile.
The company said all restructuring efforts are aimed at cutting operational costs and accelerating the global adoption of Sony Mobile's smartphone lines, including its Android-based Xperia phones.
"Sony has identified the mobile business as one of its core businesses and the Xperia smartphone portfolio continues to gain momentum with customers and consumers worldwide," said Kunimasa Suzuki, president and CEO of Sony Mobile, in a statement. "We are accelerating the integration and convergence with the wider Sony group to continue enhancing our offerings, and a more focused and efficient operational structure will help to reduce Sony Mobile’s costs, enhance time-to-market efficiency and bring the business back to a place of strength."
Sony has struggled for years to gain a competitive edge in the global smartphone market, hindered by the dominance of mobile giants Apple and Samsung. According to industry research firm IDC, the Tokyo-based handset maker failed to claim a spot among the top five smartphone makers based on worldwide market share in the second quarter of 2012. Samsung led the pack with 32.6 percent share, and Apple fell next in line with 16.9 percent, followed by Nokia, HTC and ZTE.
PUBLISHED AUG. 24, 2012