International Business Case

Sony Corporation (sony.com) is one of the most well-known companies in the world. With a heritage from Japan as a multination conglomerate that was founded in 1946, the company is headquarter in Konan, Minato, and Tokyo. Sony has annual sales of more than 8 trillion Japanese yen (about $72 billion US dollars), 125,000 employees, and some 100 global subsidiaries and affiliates. The global strategy of Sony has been as an innovator in its industries of electronics, semiconductors, computers, video games, and telecommunications equipment.

Strategically, Sony’s products and services can be classified into 12 core business segments: TV and video, audio, digital camera, professional products and solutions, medical, FelCa, semiconductors, smartphones an Internet, game and network services, pictures, music, and financial services. To integrate these 12 segment, Sony has a vision of “using our unlimited passion for technology, content and services to deliver ground breaking new excitement and entertainment.” The mission is even clearer. Sony is “a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.”

This strategic curiosity has served Sony well as a global innovator for more than seven decades. For example, in 1960, Sony launched the world’s first direct-view portable transistor TV and developed the world’s first direct-view portable transistor TV and developed the world’s first transistor-based videotape recorder in 1961. The strategy for the future is through the stunning reality of visuals that can be created by big0screen TVs and dynamic sound, Sony plans to transform the viewing experience from “watching” to “feeling”.

Behind the scenes, Sony has also spent more than 50 years honing its technological excellence in the field of broadcasting and in the professional products. The company’s products are widely used in the production of movies and television shows, as well as in live sporting events. This has result4ed in a high global market share for Sony and the company receiving a number of Emmy Awards- one of the most prestigious prizes in the broadcasting industry. Moving forward, Sony is placing a strategic emphasis on providing new value through end-to-end solutions that meet the needs of various customers by incorporating technologies enhanced in the area of content creation.

Beyond the 12 core segments that have served Sony well strategically for a long time, the company is embarking on global initiatives to create new business opportunities. They are accelerating research and development (R&D) activities to bring about innovations that can, if successful, become new strategic business segments serving customers’ needs and wants. To strategically evaluate and nurture potential opportunities, Sony divides these into new business ventures (life Space UX, Seed Acceleration Program, and Sports Entertainment) and R&D opportunities (Future Lab Program and Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc.)

On the business venture side, Life Space UX is a concept that is defined by delivering unique experiences and facilitation new ways to transform a person’s living space. The Seed Acceleration Program’s goal is to gather and nurture new business ideas from beyond the boundaries of existing Sony organizations (which is very similar to many organizations’ strategies that are innovatively new). Additionally, with its range of products and services design to enrich various everyday life situations, Sony is focused on a new business venture of providing discoveries and experience in sports.

The Future Lab Program is a part of Sony’s heavy investment in R&D. It embraces an approach to technological R&D that emphasizes an open creative environment and direct lines of communication with society, with the end goals being to co-create new lifestyles and customer value. At Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc. –often abbreviated to Sony CSL- value is assessed based on achievements that can contribute to humanity and society, to new science and technology, to industrial progress, and to product development.

QUESTION 1: How would you describe Sony’s strategy? What give the company an edge over its rivals?

QUESTION 2: Sony has organized itself into 12 distinct core business segments. How does the company integrate these segments to create a meaningful overall strategy? What is the advantage of incorporating an integrating mechanism instead of letting the core businesses remain independent of each other?

QUESTION 3: Sony is currently exploring opportunities in a variety of new areas including Life Space UX, Sports Entertainment, and Sony Computer Science Laboratories. Discuss the importance of being a leader in innovation and why Sony pursues these new strategic initiatives.

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