Friday afternoon in Tokyo saw the latest in a series of upheavals at Sony that have reshaped the company as it struggles to compete in difficult times.

CEO Sir Howard Stringer announced sweeping changes that give him more control over the firm as president and which create two distinct new businesses.

Separate branches

The New Consumer Products Group will handle everything from cameras to televisions, while the Networked Products and Services Group will cover anything that connects to a network, such as Vaio PCs and the PlayStation line of consoles.

Stringer explained his rationale: "This reorganisation is designed to transform Sony into a more innovative, integrated and agile global company with its next generation of leadership firmly in place."

Four years on

He also confirmed that the move is a key part of his long-term plans: "The changes we're announcing today will accelerate the transformation of the Company that began four years ago. They will now make it possible for all of Sony's parts to work together to assume a position of worldwide leadership."