Sony VAIO, the arm of the Japanese electronics giant that sold Windows based notebooks, and desktops is indeed leaving the consumer space in the United States.
Sony formally announced the shakeup at the same time as it provided investors with a new outlook on how its core businesses are performing. The company says it made the move to “cease planning, design and development of PC products” based on “the drastic changes in the global PC industry,” and other factors.
Sony’s decision to exit the PC business couldn’t come at a more interesting time for the company itself or the PC market.
Traditionally, VAIO notebooks and desktops have been known for their style and build quality. The line was also known for experimenting thanks to notebooks like the VIAO P. In fact, the VIAO PC was typical of Sony’s decisions in the PC market. It was a well-designed netbook that tried to take the form factor to more upscale places. Unfortunately, getting there meant charging users a hefty premium.
Though Sony didn’t call out Microsoft in today’s press release, it’s likely that the company figured it was best to get out of the high-end PC space while it still could. Since announcing the Surface family of tablets and 2-in-1s Microsoft has repeatedly said that it has no wish for the line to take market share from mid-range and low-end PCs made by its partners. Instead, it’s focusing on providing high-end PC users with a premiere experience. That sounds remarkably like the same market Sony VAIO was meant for.
It’s also worth noting that PC sales haven’t exactly been growing steadily. In fact, PC sales have been in decline for years. Many industry insiders say that PC makers owe that decline in sales to the growth of smartphones and tablets.
Sony says that it expects the sale to Japanese Industrial Partners to close this July. Based on the press release, the sold VAIO business will start a new with around 300 of the employees who work for Sony VAIO now. Initially, the new division will focus on selling VAIO computers in Japan only. Sony also announced that sales of its PS4 console were killing sales of its older PS3 console.