Sony Has Worst Year Since 1995 — But Puts On Killer Virtual Trade Show

Last week, Sony put on their first “virtual tradeshow,” for professional broadcast equipment, and we thought it was one of the coolest marketing tools we’ve ever seen.  It was, literally, as good as being on a trade show floor — if you go to shows to see new products, learn about the technical features, and chat with industry experts (and not just to party). The show was awesome, but the parties were, well, non-existent.

But in other Sony news, they reported they expect to have a net loss of $1.7 Billion by March 2009 (for the fiscal year).  Last month, Sony announced they would cut about 16,000 jobs in hopes of saving millions of dollars, but that’s apparently not going to be enough to stave off the loss.  These layoffs were all in the electronics side of the business but now Sony says other divisions will have layoffs too – but they didn’t specify when or where.

The Wall Street Journal, last week, partially credited Apple with Sony’s fall saying that the market for some of Sony’s core products (i.e. the Walkman series) has been overtaken by Apple’s less hardware-focused, software-based approach with iTunes.  In addition, Apple has contract manufacturers make everything with strict controls on quality, while Sony has 57 electronics factories of their own.

Sony’s CEO, Howard Stringer, is a genius, however, and has the ability to pull them out of this even in a down financial year.