John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

One Sony, 10,000 Layoffs

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai this morning announced the first step in his plan to restore the company to its former glory: Sweeping layoffs and a broad restructuring.

In his first news conference since succeeding Howard Stringer as chief executive of Sony, Hirai confirmed the company will sack 10,000 employees — roughly 6 percent of its global workforce — as it moves to refocus its efforts on three main businesses: Mobile devices, cameras and camcorders, and games.

“Now is the time for Sony to change,” Hirai said at the company’s Tokyo headquarters as he detailed his “One Sony” initiative. “We must accelerate the speed of our management, reform our business portfolio, and innovate.”

And to achieve that? First, an ugly employee bloodletting and a rejiggering of the company’s television business, which has racked up $10 billion in losses in the past eight years. Hirai says he aims to cut the division’s fixed costs by 60 percent and its operating costs by 30 percent over the next two years. Meanwhile, Sony will expand its PlayStation and online games business and push into new markets like medical equipment.

“Our goal at Sony is to become a company that creates products and services that stimulate curiosity in customers around the world and gives them an emotional experience,” Hirai said. “I am determined to transform and revive Sony. This is our only chance to change. We cannot shy away from difficult decisions.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work