Sony eyes smartphone market exit

The Japanese electronics firm could leave the cut-throat smartphone and TV market as it eyes a forecast profit spike in other areas of its business.

(Image: CNET/CBS Interactive)

Sony may leave the smartphone and TV business in favor of more profitable and secure markets.

The Japanese electronics giant's chief executive said Wednesday it would no longer pursue sales growth in divisions where it has suffered heavy competition, such as smartphones.

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"The strategy starting from the next business year will be about generating profit and investing for growth," said CEO Kazuo Hirai, according to a Reuters report. That decision, he said, would allow its business units to be more autonomous.

Hirai, however, would not completely "rule out considering an exit strategy" from the smartphone and TV business, the report said.

Companies like Apple and Samsung have dominated markets where Sony once had a strong presence in. Its decline in market share over the past three to five years has never recovered, despite a slew of new devices making its way to the Western market.

Sony will instead focus on its more profitable divisions, such as its PlayStation unit. That could lead to a 25-fold jump in profits in the next three years, Hirai said.

But it's come at a price for the company. Thousands of jobs have been cut -- most recently more than 2,100 jobs in its smartphone division.

The company also suffered a major public relations nightmare when its Sony Pictures movie-making division was hit by a massive cyberattack that crippled its networks. The hack, which was blamed on North Korea, cost the division at least $15 million so far.