The strong yen gave Sony a pricing disadvantage as it bought LCD panels from its joint manufacturing venture with Samsung and sold the finished TVs into the North American market. “Sony’s got a huge, huge challenge” because they’re not a prime manufacturer of panels, said Bill Johannesen, founder of Vision Werks and a veteran of Sharp and Bose. “You have to live and die by your forecasts amid volatile market pricing,” he said.
Some pricing/currency issues will be mitigated by Sony’s joint venture deal with Sharp to produce LCD TVs, in particular LED TVs, in Japan, with shipments reportedly starting this year.
Fasulo also said Sony’s 2009 restructuring—announced in April and executed by July—shortened the communication link between Sony’s U.S. electronics company and its corporate headquarters in Tokyo, a move expected to improve Sony’s market response times.