Sony, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of consumer electronics, including digital cameras, has just announced that it lost over $1.3 billion for the first quarter of the 2014 fiscal year, which was a tripling of the loss in the same time frame from the previous year. To make matters worse, Sony is projecting further losses in the near future.
So, what could this mean for owners of Sony photographic gear?
Well, probably not much as the camera division was not cited as one of the departments that was losing money, which means that, in theory at least, the camera division should not be on the chopping block as it is (apparently) making money. For the record, Sony's computer, compact disc, battery, television, mobile device, and video game divisions are those posting losses.
Causes Sony cites for its continuing woes: a strengthening (vs. the Japanese Yen) U.S. Dollar, abilities of competitors to make things for cheaper (like in China), increasing competition, and losing its once cutting-edge technological lead, which equates to complacency.
The good news: sales actually rose 14% in 2013 as compared to 2012.
In the photographic world, Sony is a bit of an upstart. While among the first of companies to get into digital photography in the late 1990s with its now iconic, floppy drive using Mavica series, Sony was content to stay in the low-end of the camera business until rather recently. After having purchased Konica Minolta (along with its technology), Sony has been on a blitz of high-end camera launches, culminating with its Alpha series dSLRs and its large-sensor, mirrorless NEX series, now rebranded as Alphas. With its extensive electronics background, Sony has often been at the forefront of the technological arms race, too, with its translucent mirror technology being its crowning achievement for its camera division, which continues to churn out capable models at competitive prices.
Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what 2014 brings for Sony, which has plenty of products to keep customers happy, at least on the photographic side of its business.
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