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Sony Mobile CEO: No sale or exit from the mobile industry

Sony has ruled out selling off its loss-making Mobile division, despite repeated rumours to that effect.

Sony Mobile CEO Hiroki Totoki was hand-picked by Sony boss Kazuo Hirai to reverse the department’s (and thus the company’s) fortunes back in November 2014.

It was a tricky commission, for while recent high-end smartphones like the Sony Xperia Z3 haven’t sold very well, they’ve actually been very good devices.

Speaking to Arabian Business recently, Totoki revealed that the solution to this conundrum will not be to sell up, as Sony did with its ailing Vaio computer arm in 2014. Indeed, Totoki explains that drawing such parallels isn’t helpful, because the two industries are very different.

“Smartphones are completely connected to other devices, also connected to people’s lives — deeply,” he explains. “And the opportunity for diversification is huge.”

With the emerging internet of things also feeding into this industry, Totoki makes the bold claim that “we will never ever sell or exit from the current mobile business.”

Totoki explains that the rumours surrounding such a sale stemmed from the division’s huge loss of 2014. However that loss wasn’t as bad as it seemed. “It mainly came from the write-off of the goodwill of our impairment asset,” says Totoki, with reference to the company’s purchase of Ericsson’s shares in 2012.

“But this was an accounting loss and did not impact our cash flow,” said Totoki. “Our cash flow is very healthy.”

Instead, aggressive cuts to operating costs – including staff numbers – are underway. “We are trying to decrease our costs by 30 percent to the end of 2016, and reduce our headcount by 20 percent,” said Totoki.

Read More: Sony Xperia Z3+ review

We can also expect fewer smartphones from the company, as Totoki spoke of streamlining Sony Mobile’s product portfolio.

Watch our Sony Xperia Z3 review video below.

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