SYDNEY - Australian retailers involved in sales of Sony's Vaio computers and its Xperia tablet line - including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, David Jones and Myer chains - appear to have been left in the dark on whether the Vaio and Xperia lines will disappear forever from their shelves following Sony's decision to sell off its computer business.
The sale plan was floated by insiders mid last week, and confirmed by Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai at the weekend, following announcement of the Japanese giant's latest results, including a whacking $1.2 billion loss.
The computer business is to be sold to Japanese Industrial Partners (JIP) in a deal scheduled to be firmed up by March. A Sony statement said the new owners are "expected initially to concentrate on sales of consumer and corporate PCs in the Japanese market".
Some 5000 Sony jobs are to go following the sale. This will certainly include some Australian headcount: Sony Japan has said 3500 of the 5000 cuts will occur in overseas subsidiaries
Sony is hanging on to its TV business, but it will be rejigged as a wholly owned subsidiary.
CDN was told by a Sony Australia spokeswoman yesterday that the company at this stage had no statement to make on the future of the Vaio brand in Australia.
However Web site Appliance Retailer managed to get answers of a sort from another unnamed spokesperson.
Asked "Will retailers see changes with order fulfilment, pricing or retail support in the Vaio category?", the spokesperson said: "Sony Australia is working with global HQ on a plan and timeline regarding the local implications of these announcements. This will be communicated to retailers in due course."
Asked what would be the future of the Vaio business under new owners JIP, the spokesperson replied, in part: " JIP believes that with its support, the new company that will operate the Vaio-branded PC business will be able to achieve future growth and profitability and meet the expectations of Vaio customers."
On rejigging of the TV business, the spokesperson said this would have no impact on Sony Australia's local TV business.
He/she added: "Sony Australia is working with global HQ on a plan and timeline regarding the local implications of these announcements."