Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Nope, Sony’s Not “Recession-Proof”: Set for $1 Billion Loss?

No wonder Howard Stringer couldn’t promise he was “recession-proof” when the Sony CEO spoke at the Consumer Electronics Show last week: The company is set to record a $1.1 billion loss, according to the Japanese newspaper Nikkei.

That’s something Sony hasn’t seen since Hollywood producers Jon Peters and Peter Gruber managed to incinerate the company’s balance sheet in the mid-90s. Variety:

This contrasts with the $2.2 billion operating profit Sony predicted in October.

The Nikkei said the loss could balloon to $2 billion, depending on how successful Sony is in cutting inventory in the January-March quarter.

If the Nikkei forecast comes to pass, it will be Sony’s first loss in 14 years, when it took a one-time charge for its pictures division.

Black ink has turned red because of lower-than-expected sales of Sony’s flat-panel TVs and other products, primarily in the U.S. market, while the rapid strengthening of the yen has devastated the bottom lines of all Japanese export industries.”

Upside? Sony (SNE) still makes really cool stuff. Last year at All Things Digital, Stringer showed off a super-thin, super-expensive TV that used organic light-emitting diodes. Last week at CES, the company was showing off a different application for OLED: flexible screens.

Here’s a Sony rep telling you about the technology, but not doing a good job of showing it off:

And here’s video from Obsessable, which actually displays the goods:


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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”