No sooner than the party for Hirai's promotion has ended has Sony posted a whopping $2 billion net loss for the quarter ending December 31st, 2011. The company brought in $23.37 billion in revenue, a 17.4 percent decrease year over year.
Sony laid the blame on "the impact of the floods in Thailand, deterioration in market conditions in developed countries, and unfavorable foreign exchange rates," but also pointed to the sale of its stake in a joint LCD venture with Samsung and some tax related issues pertaining to the company's Sony Ericsson buy-out.
A continued decline in Sony's television business saw sales in the consumer products division, of which Sony Computer Entertainment is a part, drop by 24 percent year over year. Sony was forced to lower the forecast of the PlayStation 3, down from 15 million to 14 million, due to slightly underperforming console sales. The system still managed to shift 6.5 million units during the quarter though — up 200k units over the previous year.
PlayStation 3 software was also up, from 57.6 million units to 66.2 million. But as expected, both the PSP and PlayStation 2 continued their decline, while Sony didn't mention the newly released PlayStation Vita.
As a response to the losses, new CEO Kaz Hirai outlined a plan to return Sony to profit by strengthening its core businesses. He outlined plans to leverage Sony's strengths in the gaming division to build unique mobile products, and also to refocus the company's television plans. Hirai also said that he intends to streamline Sony's business profile and focus on innovation by strengthening its ties between R&D and business groups.
It goes without saying that Hirai's got a tough task ahead of him, but we have confidence in the former SCE executive to turn things around.