If Apple doesn't have a problem letting other manufacturers build its iPads, iPhones, and iPods, then maybe that's not such a bad idea—at least it may explain why Sony is planning to add a second division of laptops that it won't be building itself.
A Sony exec told PC Pro that the electronics giant is splitting its laptop business into two divisions: the first one still built by Sony itself, with the second one built by partners but still sold under the Sony name. The second-division notebooks would have the "taste of VAIO, the style of VAIO" and share some of the features of the first-division VAIOs. The primary difference would be that Sony would put the latest hardware into the VAIOs it manufactures, while the third-party laptops would get that hardware later, when it would presumably be cheaper.
While Sony's prices have come down in general, as have every notebook manufacturers', margins are slimmer, too. To meet the company's aggressive sales goals (10 million VAIOs sold in 2010), it has clearly figured out that it needs to outsource some manufacturing, though Sony claims that “The quality criteria itself is no different between division number one and division number two.” It's backing up that claim by selling the division-two laptops under the VAIO name, but if there's any difference in quality with the outsourced portables, it could wind up tarnishing the brand instead.
[Via Engadget from PC Pro]