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Sony Shifts Product Development Efforts

A new Sony reorganization has shifted product development for digital cameras and portable audio products to newly created business units, but the changes — intended to improve and accelerate product development — won’t shift U.S. sales and marketing responsibilities “in the near term,” a U.S. spokeswoman said.

As part of the reorganization, development of Sony portable audio products will be split among three business units. Late last year, Sony formed the Sony Connect company to oversee development of HDD music portables, the PC software designed for them, and the software’s integration with the Sony Connect online music store.

In the latest change, a new company called Personal Audio Video Network Co. (PAVNC) will oversee mobile CE products, including digital cameras and cassette- and CD-based portable audio. Another new company, Information Technology and Communication Network Co. (ITCNC), will develop Vaio-branded computers and peripherals, and portable audio products that store music in flash memory, on MiniDiscs and on Hi-MD discs.

“The intention is to strengthen product development, speed up decision-making, and enhance operational efficiency for IT and mobile CE products,” the spokesperson said. One of PAVNC’s missions is to increase the number of internally sourced components for its finished goods, she added.

As for splitting Walkman development, she said, “The new structure will allow us to respond more quickly to a changing business environment and speedily create new attractive products.”

In the United States, portable audio products are marketed by Sony’s Vaio IT unit and its CE unit. Vaio markets a HDD headphone portable and once marketed flash-memory portables. The CE unit markets those types plus Hi-MD, MiniDisc, CD and cassette portables.