Sony to revamp product development to challenge Apple, Samsung

According to reports, Sony is revamping part procurement to take on the biggest names in mobile device development.

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Credit: ZDNet | Ben Woods

Sony is revamping product development and part procurement in an attempt to take on Samsung and Apple in the mobile and consumer realm.

According to Japanese publication Nikkei, the electronics giant currently buys parts for its consumer products -- including cameras, smartphones, and mobile consoles -- from roughly 1,000 suppliers. However, the Japanese firm plans to "work more closely" with the top suppliers in the list, and so will soon begin acquiring parts from only 250 of these manufacturers.

After selling off its PC business, such a move may help Sony snag top parts on a preferential basis, in large volumes, as well as speed up overall product development. The problem Sony faces, according to Nikkei, is that the firm is in direct competition with rivals Apple and Samsung for top parts.

"Sony is said to spend almost 2 trillion yen ($19.5 billion) a year on parts procurement. But rivals Samsung Electronics and Apple reportedly shell out more than double that amount, and bulk orders give them precedence in receiving high-performance components," the publication says.

The Japanese publication states that Sony must bring innovative products to market ahead of other companies to get back in the game -- and a way to do this is to exchange information with suppliers from the product planning stage and work with fewer numbers.

Nikkei states that Sony's part procurement overhaul will change how its consumer products perform, and Sony "plans to select two or three major global suppliers for each of 10 or so core components," including sensors, chips, and display panels. Suppliers reportedly of interest to Sony include Qualcomm and MediaTek for smartphone processors, and AU Optronics for LCD panels.

In February, Sony reached a deal with investment fund Japan Industrial Partners to sell its PC business and Vaio portfolio. The move was touted as a restructuring effort which determined the PC and television business is no longer a profit driver for Sony, and by selling them off, the company is free to focus on mobile technology development.