Sony phone chief vows to keep losing money forever and ever

CEO may be less enthusiastic about staying in market until extinction of competitors

Sony's phone boss has vowed to stay in the mobile business until the heat death of the universe – despite losses that have dragged the rest of the Japanese giant down.

Sony handsets lost almost ¥200bn ($1.63bn, £1bn) last year, while almost all of the rest of Sony made money. Nevertheless, Sony Mobile's latest president, Hiroki Totoki, couldn't be more emphatic about wanting to play the losing game.

"We will never sell or exit from the current mobile business," he told Arabian Business.

The company expects to make its first profits in three years this year and has shed thousands of jobs to reduce operating expenses in its mobile division. Sony Mobile has also eased off from a frenetic product cycle, launching new ranges every six to nine months. This year's flagship (the Z4 in Asia and the Z3+ elsewhere) sees only minimal changes from last year's Z3. Confusingly, Sony uses the same Z4 model number for a tablet.

Totoki said Sony's camera sensor gave it an advantage. He also said Sony would continue in watches and other wearable tech. However, Sony licenses the sensor to all comers, and reportedly makes $20 from every iPhone sold.

Sony has targeted the high-margin part of the market dominated by Apple and Samsung, but high-volume Chinese manufacturers are closing the quality gap. Ultimately it's not up to Totoki, but Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, to decide whether Sony stays in the mobile device business. ®

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