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2014年2月13日 (木)

ソニー不振 背水のリストラで再生なるか

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 12, 2014
Can Sony’s restructuring efforts save the ailing electronics giant?
ソニー不振 背水のリストラで再生なるか(2月12日付・読売社説)

What kind of road map will Sony Corp. draft to bring its technical prowess and brand strength to bear in the pursuit of a new growth strategy, following the company’s latest restructuring plan? It is still unclear what lies ahead in the conglomerate’s efforts to revive business after its recent last-ditch shake-up.
 ソニーが技術とブランド力を生かし、新たな成長戦略をどう描くのか。背水のリストラ後も再生の道は不透明である。

Sony has unveiled a bold restructuring package that will see the company shedding its embattled personal computer business, which had sold its wares under the “Vaio” brand. The scheme also includes a plan to spin off Sony’s television manufacturing division into a separate company.
 ソニーは「バイオ(VAIO)」ブランドで展開してきたパソコン事業からの撤退と、テレビ事業の分社化などの大規模なリストラ策を発表した。

The struggling corporation’s decision to adopt these measures reflects Sony’s failure to improve business performance despite repeated restructuring efforts in the past. In fact, Sony had to revise its forecast for after-tax profits during the consolidated account settlement term ending in March 2014. The figure has been revised downward to a loss of ¥110 billion, meaning Sony is likely to fall into the red for the first time in two business terms.
 何度もリストラに取り組んできたが、業績が上向かないためだ。2014年3月期連結決算の税引き後利益の見通しも1100億円の赤字に下方修正した。2期ぶりの赤字転落である。

There was a time when Sony demonstrated an ability to release a number of successful products like the Walkman portable music player and the Trinitron color TV set. But the company’s prowess in this respect has faded, resulting in a failure to turn out distinctive products that could set Sony apart from other electronics manufacturers.
 ソニーはかつて携帯音楽プレーヤー「ウォークマン」や、トリニトロンカラーテレビなどのヒット商品を次々発売した。今は勢いが鈍り「ソニーらしさ」を欠く。

Sony’s desperate move to shake up two iconic businesses—PC and television manufacturing—is a telling sign of the company’s hardships.
 「顔」であるパソコンとテレビの2大事業が抜本改革に追い込まれたことは苦境ぶりを物語る。

Vaio entered the PC market in 1996. The brand’s lineup was marked by unconventional design combined with an operating environment that enabled users to enjoy recorded music and video clips. The Vaio PC grew to great popularity, and served as a trigger prompting Sony to expand its business as a consumer electronics manufacturer to include full-fledged operations in the field of information technology.
 バイオは1996年に登場した。斬新なデザインに加え、音楽や映像を楽しむというコンセプトが人気を集め、ソニーが家電からIT(情報技術)分野に本格進出する契機になった商品だ。

In recent years, however, sales figures for Sony’s Vaio line have declined as a result of an ongoing contraction in the PC market, ascribed to the rise of smartphones and tablet PCs.
 しかし、最近はスマートフォンやタブレット(多機能携帯端末)の普及でパソコン市場が縮小し、バイオの売り上げも減った。

Will pain bring gain?

Sony President Kazuo Hirai described his company’s restructuring plan as “a painful decision to make.” When he said that the corporation would seek to concentrate its business resources in the production of smartphones, tablet PCs and other new electronic devices, he had good reason. However, there is no cause for optimism about Sony’s plan yet, given the growing offensive on the smartphone market launched by corporations in China and other countries.
 平井一夫社長が「苦渋の決断だった」と述べ、スマホやタブレットなどに経営資源を集中する方針を示したのは理解できる。だが、スマホは中国企業などが攻勢をかけており、楽観は禁物だろう。

Sony is expected to suffer a 10th consecutive year of losses in its television manufacturing operations—which could be considered the company’s inaugural business—during the business term ending in March, largely as a result of sales competition with South Korean and other makers.
 ソニーの祖業とも言えるテレビ事業は、韓国メーカーなどとの競争で10年連続の赤字が見込まれる。

Sony’s decision to transform its television manufacturing division into a separate corporation is aimed at improving business efficiency and making swift managerial decisions.
テレビ事業の子会社化によって、経営効率を高め、迅速に経営判断を下そうという狙いだ。

It is essential for Sony’s shake-up to fulfill its goal by putting an end to the company’s chronic losses. This will demand success in multiple domains, including the marketing of next-generation 4K televisions, which offer ultrahigh-definition images. But competition is heating up among electronics makers seeking to develop 4K televisions. To accomplish this goal, Sony will also need to introduce strategic products targeting consumers in emerging nations.
 鮮明な画像が売り物で開発競争が過熱している4Kテレビや、成長著しい新興国市場向けの戦略商品を投入し、今度こそ、赤字体質を脱却しなければならない。

The foundations of Sony’s business have been supported by profits from its thriving financial services, movie and music businesses in recent years. This has made it possible for Sony to make up for the losses incurred by its television manufacturing and other money-losing divisions.
 好調な金融部門や映画・音楽ビジネスが屋台骨を支え、テレビなどの赤字を穴埋めしているが、

The greatest challenge facing the struggling corporation is to make the right decisions in choosing which kinds of businesses it should pursue as the mainstay of its overall operations, a task essential for achieving growth as a conglomerate.
最大の課題は、今後、何を事業の柱として成長を目指すかである。

There has been fierce competition in business sectors where Sony is a player, including the manufacture of medical equipment and production of video game consoles. Within these market conditions, Sony will be tested as to whether it can achieve success in the implementation of its restructuring plan, which observers say adopts a “selection and concentration” tactic.
 医療機器やゲーム機などの競争も激しい。事業の「選択と集中」の成果が問われよう。

Sony’s current plight contrasts with favorable conditions at electronics industry rivals such as Hitachi, Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. Hitachi, for instance, has a competitive edge in the construction and improvement of infrastructure such as railway facilities. Panasonic Corp. and Sharp Corp., both of which are trying to rehabilitate themselves, have succeeded in improving their business performance. These moves have left Sony the sole underdog in the electronics industry as it trails far behind in reconsidering business operations.
 電機業界では、鉄道などインフラ事業に強みがある日立製作所や東芝が好調で、再建中のパナソニックやシャープも業績を回復させた。事業見直しで周回遅れのソニーが独り負けの状況である。

We hope Sony will use its bold reform plan as leverage to reinvigorate itself as soon as possible, transforming into a corporation built on distinctiveness from competitors as it once was.
 大胆な改革をテコに、ソニーらしい輝きを取り戻し、早期に復活することを期待したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 12, 2014)
(2014年2月12日01時11分  読売新聞)

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