Sony has announced a major reorganisation of its business divisions that sees chief executive and chairman Howard Stringer also become president.
Ryoji Chubachi, the current president, will become vice chairman on 1 April, Sony announced on Friday. According to a statement, Chubachi will also "remain a member of the board and a representative corporate executive officer and will assist the CEO and also oversee product safety and quality, and Sony’s environmental policies".
A new Networked Products and Services group will bundle in Sony's Vaio PC business with its entertainment, mobile products and media software and services businesses. According to the statement, the PlayStation network service platform is "integral" to the creation of new products within this group. Kazuo Hirai, the current head of the Sony computer entertainment business, will head this new group.
A second new business division, the Consumer Products Group, will incorporate Sony's television, digital imaging, home audio and video divisions. This division will be led by the current head of the TV business group, Hiroshi Yoshioka. Sony's semiconductor and component business group will also report to Yoshioka, and the current head of the Vaio business group, Yoshihisa Ishida, will run Sony's TV business group.
Michael Philpott, a principal analyst at Ovum, told ZDNet UK on Friday that the reorganisation was "a good move because hopefully it will start to unite some of [Sony's] big divisions".
"Any integration within that company is a good move," Philpott said, adding "hardly any of the devices that [Sony has], even if they're supposed to work together, work together very well at all".
Philpott noted a recent lack of central strategy at Sony, and said a longstanding drive to unite the various units within the company had not yet produced results.
Asked whether it made sense to integrate the Vaio business into the same division that deals with the PlayStation and Walkman brands, Philpott said it depended on how Sony intended to use that integration.
"If you look at Apple, Apple has made the [Macbook] the central point of their connected home strategy — everything else links to it, such as the iPod and Apple TV," he said. "If Sony's thinking about developing new products and services using the PC as a media centre to enable new experiences for the consumer, then that will start to make sense. If they're not thinking about doing that, there doesn’t seem to be any point."