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Sony CEO Won’t Put Up Fight in American Smartphone Battle, Claims “It’s Not Realistic”

sony xperia z1

Well, this shouldn’t come as much of a shocker to anyone that is possibly a fan of Sony, but the company’s CEO Kazuo Hirai (appointed last year to help turn the company around) announced that the American smartphone market just isn’t in the cards for now. According to a recent meeting with several journalists overseas, Sony will look away from both the China and American markets, and instead look to Europe and Japan to help them rise in the global rankings. Considering only T-Mobile is a current carrier of a Sony phone (with a Z1 apparently on the way), again, this doesn’t’ surprise us one bit. 

As of Q2 in 2013, Sony held 2% of the global smartphone market, a number that is somewhat depressing when stacked against Samsung and Apple. Nevertheless, Sony isn’t throwing in the towel completely in the U.S., but taking a step back and better positioning themselves globally for a future go later down the road. “It’s not realistic to try to do everything at once. In the U.S. we’ll start gradually,” Hirai said.

Sony produces good devices, but for Sony to succeed in America, they will need to better market their products and get themselves on the other three top carriers. There is no other way. T-Mobile customers can’t be the only ones paying Sony’s bills.

Via: Reuters

  • chris_johns

    What a shame…sony makes good hardware

  • tendoboy1984

    How can Sony compete with HaTC and LG if they’re ignoring the US market?

    Who am I supposed to turn to for my first Android phone? Samsung plans on abandoning Android for their own Tizen OS (if it even comes out), HTC is dying, most of Motorola’s phones are exclusive to Verizon, and Sony doesn’t really about the US market. So who’s left? LG’s Optimus phones are supposedly good, so maybe I’ll try them.

  • My Way or the Hirai

    Sony’s problems in the USA are internal to Sony. Their other divisions have been sapping the resources that could have been used for mobile!

  • zurginator

    I think the fastest way for them to dig a niche in the US market would be to have the winning bid on the Nexus line. It would give them a nice market presence at least, without worrying much about marketing or distribution.

  • 216montser

    I would buy a sony smart phone if it would land on big red

  • Teddy Chen

    Guess their marketing efforts in the US is all toward the Playstation right now.

  • Cowboydroid

    Sony’s been playing this game for 7 or 8 years now, started back when they were with Ericsson. This isn’t exactly news. They’ve put up feeble efforts to get into the US mobile market, and when they don’t get any traction they just immediately give up. I used to be a die-hard fan of Sony’s mobile devices, but lately they’ve just thrown in the towel. I don’t find myself interested in a single device they produce now.

  • Paul Hansen

    I don’t expect Sony to attempt a real push here until CDMA is retired. They’ve almost exclusively dealt with GSM since the beginning. They have fantastic devices and I can’t wait til they’re a real player here.

  • JMonkeYJ

    i really like what sony’s been doing lately. i hope it will still be possible to get them at non-import prices in the US even if they don’t market them heavily….

  • schoat333

    Not good. Competition is important, and its failing right now. Samsung and Apple have way too much market share.

    • Cowboydroid

      Actually, that sounds like competition is winning…consumers have elected those two as their manufacturer of choice.

      Of course, carriers make it as difficult as possible to compete, but I don’t hink competition is dead in the mobile device arena.

  • Radgatt

    If that’s how he feels then I say don’t show off any phones at any American events. No Sony at CES or CTIA. That way we won’t have to get our hopes up. That’s how I see it.

  • Prime7

    That’s too bad. I absolutely would consider buying a Z1 if they were to make a Verizon version.

  • Droidzilla

    I wanted to root for Sony. Nice screens, really good cameras (for a phone; they sold Apple most of their camera units, after all). Then I used a friend’s Sony Xperia. Laggy mess of a phone.

  • socarwolverine

    While this is disappointing, if they would just release a halo phone on one, if not more, of the major carriers they could do a good job of keeping their foot in the door and build up a customer following.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    Good move. The U.S is an odd place…

    • socarwolverine

      Man it really is, oh, you’re talking about for phones…

  • j

    Device in the pic looks like a kindle fire or nexus 7. Aka a boring block of budget hardware.

  • mustbepbs

    Kaz is the best thing to happen to Sony. He’s done an amazing job so far in restructuring and reallocating. This is a prime example of how straight his head is on.

    • trixnkix637

      The fact the department he last oversaw (Playstation brand) was the only department within the Sony banner that wasn’t in the red & turning a profit speaks to this man’s capabilities.

      • albert5x5

        From what I read, PlayStation is still about $5 Billion in the red. They are at least currently on an uptick, and the PS4 with paid PSN subscribtions are only going to help.

        • trixnkix637

          Don’t count this previous quarter. They’ve readily admitted that those costs in losses was due to r&d for the ps4.


          • albert5x5

            I should have clarified. The $5 Billion loss is in the span from 2003-2013. Mostly due to the initial cost of the PS3, and from PS4. Like I said though, Sony is slowly but surely making that money back.

      • Big_EZ

        I love Playstation, but that was one of the only departments that was in the red.

  • starnovsky

    Sony should have absolutely the best cameras and screens in their phones. Surprisingly, they don’t. That’s the problem.

    • Mark Mann

      far as the screen goes, every review i’ve read has said the screen is beautiful, the viewing angles are crap though…but really, how often are you going to look at your phone any way besides straight on?

  • Careful with the headlines there, Tim-o…your headline makes it sound like the CEO said “the American smart phone battle is not realistic”…as if it’s skewed in some way or unfair. But really, he just said that it’s unrealistic to try to do too many things at once.

    …just tryin’ to keep it real. Keep up the great work you guys do!

    Oh, and btw, while I’m complaining, you wanna turn down the ads on mobile a bit? I would visit the site a lot more on my phone if there weren’t so many awful/laggy ads. But since there are, I mostly only come here on my computer where I can use adblock.

    • socarwolverine

      I actually didn’t get that at all. Before I read the article, I took it to mean the other makers were too entrenched and it wouldn’t be feasible right now to push in the U.S. until they can build up overseas. I got no hint of “unfairness”.

  • Ian

    Unfortunate. They make some nice looking devices.

  • TheWenger

    Too many Apple-zealots (low-information smartphone buyers, generally).

    • Chris

      low information?

      • TheWenger

        iPhone buyers, in general, tend to be uninformed, low-information smartphone buyers. RDF and mindshare gets ’em.

    • Stevedub40

      How can anyone down vote this? It’s the truth. Americans are so apple-retarded that you simply cannot change their minds. This is why we miss out on a lot of the hot international devices as well.

      • The Phenom

        More phones more choices

  • ninjawarren

    They might do better if they spent money on marketing in the US. They could leverage their own brand awareness in any marketing campaign. Everyone knows the Sony brand, and most people consider it top-tier.

    • mustbepbs

      Certainly doesn’t help that they have zero devices on Verizon, the largest carrier in the US. I’d buy a new Sony smartphone (I bought the XPERIA Play, which unfortunately was a piece of ****) in a second if it was on Verizon. Their build quality and attitude towards the consumer are second to none. They are totally on board with AOSP too which is awesome.

      • MikeCiggy

        I would also LOVE a Sony device on Verizon. The water/dust proof devices and their design has been clean. That plus almost stock Android would be killer.

        Why do these company’s not understand they need to be on all major carriers and actually market the device to be able to gain some market share?

      • michael arazan

        I don’t think it’s the American Market, it’s probably the American Carriers that is deterring them from entering here again. But with *pple, Sammy, Moto and HTC and seeing only 2 OEM’s making a definitive profit, I’d have my prejudices before entering the market here too.

  • Jim890

    We don’t need you here. SAMSUNG FTW!

    • JBartcaps


    • Caleb Loop

      You are the worst kind of person.

    • PhoenixPath

      He’s obviously joking, guys. No-one is that oblivious to what the utter lack of competition does to markets.

    • Chris

      Theres more to android then samsung. A compney who makes fun of woman who can’t use their phone because “their nails are wet”

  • Mark

    It’s a shame, their phones are gorgeous pieces of hardware. If he would pay attention to the criticisms that we Americans have over here of their product, such as the terrible viewing angles of their screens, I’d give them a look. I’m still seriously tempted to pick up the Z on T-Mobile if/when I make the switch even though I know it’s clearly not the superior phone on that carrier. It just looks and feels like a premium device.