Sony will cut 10,000 jobs, a hefty 6 percent of its total employees, in a bid to send the company back into the black, reports Japanese newspaper Nikkei.
Sony previously laid off 10,000 workers in 2005 and axed 8,000 temporary positions in 2008 in similar moves. Apparently they weren't enough to rescue the company's ailing TV business, a division these layoffs are expected to address.
Sony's history of losses
The company's been posting losses for the past seven years (though Slate pegs the losses at only four straight years), due in part to fierce competition across the PC, mobile, game, and especially TV sectors. And they're not the only company that's suffering; for example, Panasonic has forecast heavy losses for 2012 due to their struggling TV business.
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Slate cites last month's "semi-bailout," when the Development Bank of Japan purchased Sony's chemicals unit, as a factor in Sony's current predicament.
New CEO cleaning house
Other speculation points to Sony's newly appointed CEO, Kaz Hirai, as the source of the layoffs. Hirai took the reigns from former CEO Howard Stringer on April Fool's Day, which must have made it an interesting day to work at Sony. Any laughs that were had have likely transformed into melancholy, though, since the news of the layoffs continues to spread.
Hirai is scheduled to brief investors this Thursday on his strategies for making the conglomerate profitable again, including but not limited to the layoffs. He's expected to discuss re-focusing the company to concentrate more on its "core businesses," though it's unclear what those actually are at this point.
Prior to moving up the corporate ladder, Hirai helped popularize the Playstation brand in North America, so it's expected that the newly launched PS Vita and Sony's currently under-wraps next home gaming console will factor heavily in those plans.
Gratuitous product placement didn't help either
Other signs of Sony's growing desperation include a trailer earlier this year for the company's latest Resident Evil movie. Almost half the trailer is inexplicably dedicated to promoting several of their latest mobile devices, a puzzling conceit that garnered substantial criticism.
Watch out for more Sony news on Thursday after Hirai speaks with investors.