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Archive 2012 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?
  
 
carstenw
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


irish-george wrote:
Obviously, you haven't heard of Element Electronics...they actually manufacture their larger TVs in Michigan.


Sure, there are still individual companies manufacturing in the States, no question. But very few compared to, say, two or three decades ago. And no, I have not heard of Element Electronics.



Nov 11, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Tariq Gibran
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


carstenw wrote:
Is that anything more than a one-company perspective?


Similar to that sentiment, I wonder if your perspective might reflect that of someone who lives in Germany - economically, the strongest country in Europe I believe.



Nov 11, 2012 at 01:18 PM
carstenw
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


Haha, I guess I have no way of knowing. I am British-Canadian and grew up in Denmark, and have family and friends in all three, but I don't have as much visibility for southern Europe.


Nov 11, 2012 at 01:23 PM
photo chris
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


Sony had $20 billion of revenue in its 2nd quarter, and its in the process of restructuring so there will still be some rough times. Right now it seems like Sony can't build a competitive TV and sell it at a profit. Its TV's are still among the best, but when you walk into Costco or Best Buy here in the U.S. and see a Vizio or LG (the brand I own) with roughly the same specs for 30% less, its a really tough sell. Panasonic stupidly hitched its wagon to plasma and is getting its lunch handed to it by LCD/LED from the discount Chinese brands.

In its quarterly report, Sony admits its bloated and working on trimming the fat in its operations. Sadly that means people are losing their jobs. The report also says its making adjustments to its TV manufacturing in an attempt to return that division to profitability. And it recognizes the obvious boom in smartphones and is focusing on increasing sales, but Samsung's mobile revenue is 10x Sony's so its not exactly a big player in the market. Its also sitting on $7.5b in cash, so reports of its death are a little premature.

As long as music, movies and TV productions continue to perform well, it doesn't seem like Sony is inclined to break up and sell off those parts of the company. Moving forward its focusing on the areas of growth and trying to cut costs on what's bringing them down, namely home electronics - TV's, home audio and DVD players. The goals of the current report are to return those sectors to profitability by 2014. IMHO Sony will just concede the low end side of things to the Chinese and push forward with 4k TV's and the upcoming Playstation 4k.

I looked at all this before buying the A99, I have no worries about Sony being around in 2014 and beyond -- and releasing the 50mp A99x/RX2 when I'm ready to upgrade.



Nov 11, 2012 at 01:24 PM
carstenw
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


Well, that sounds a lot more positive than everything else I have read so far! Good to hear.


Nov 11, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Spyro P.
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


carstenw wrote:
Haha, I guess I have no way of knowing. I am British-Canadian and grew up in Denmark, and have family and friends in all three, but I don't have as much visibility for southern Europe.

trust me, you're not missing much
in terms of economy and big corps that is, because in terms of real quality of life they still lead the world



Nov 11, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Spyro P.
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


photo chris wrote:
Its also sitting on $7.5b in cash, so reports of its death are a little premature.

and $140bn of debt. I suspect this is where the trouble might be coming from



Nov 11, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Tariq Gibran
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


Spyro P. wrote:
and $140bn of debt. I suspect this is where the trouble might be coming from


Unbelievable! I guess that's why Sony is near Junk status. Frankly, with that ratio, I would think they were already there. 1 point away. Geez.



Nov 11, 2012 at 02:06 PM
MarcG19
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


Random thoughts on this thread:

Panasonic, Sony and Olympus are/have been in financial trouble as noted and even more importantly many of their consumer electronics are not doing so hot right now globally, as they are unable to compete with mainland Chinese and Korean competitors (better on manufacturing costs), and particularly Samsung and Apple (better on global marketing and, in the case of Apple, customer support). The big Japanese companies have been behind on all these areas in the past two decades.

The still camera market is in especially big turmoil right now and it's anyone's guess what things will look like in 5 years (my guess: probably much the same with better cell phone cameras, far fewer compacts, and fewer companies/product lines. I personally doubt any company - Japanese camera or otherwise - will come up with a disruptively innovative camera and be able to market it as such, but if someone does they'll dominate the market)

Sony will probably undergo considerable restructuring, but will still exist as a consumer electronics company, and will still make still cameras of some sort. Sharp/Panasonic/Olympus are bigger questions. I don't see them ending manufacturing or being broken up (as someone mentioned that doesn't happen in big corporate Japan for better or worse), but it's not out of the question that these will consolidate with each other, with Canikon, or with someone else.

I'd also note that Canikon's sales are also threatened from the same forces, particularly at the low end of the market. Canon is buoyed by other businesses (which aren't doing so hot right now I'm told), but Nikon is particularly vulnerable as a still-cameras-only manufacturer with a decent position in a dying part of the consumer electronics world. Fortunately, Nikon's products are pretty good overall.

Finally, since I'm not a shareholder I don't really care about corporate futures - what does this means for all of us users? Impossible to say - the business environment is hard to predict, what companies will profit and what they will do is even harder to predict, and what this means for enthusiast still photography in five years is impossible to predict (Thom Hogan has done good work here).

That being said, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't queasy about the money I've put into micro4/3 lenses, and that the resale value of the stuff might not be 1/3 of what I paid because Oly/Panny might discontinue making m4/3 cameras for whatever reason. I don't think similar risk exists with Canikon or Sony.



Nov 11, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Bifurcator
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


Bifurcator wrote:
I only wish any void they leave could and would be grabbed up by some American firms or start-ups.

carstenw wrote:
That is some pretty deep wishful thinking, unfortunately. As a result of a fixation on the lowest price, the US has been exporting their manufacturing capability to China and other countries so deep and for so long now that I cannot really imagine any way to go back. It would take serious time, not just the death of one or two competitors. Ironically, the situation in Europe is somewhat better, as the manufacturing is still going on here. The trouble would be pricing since European labour is expensive.


Yeah, wish in one hand and...

But we could go back. All it would take is the media getting behind it. UK/US peoples are sheep and they will mostly do as they are told. So all we would need is an anti-NAFTA and anti-GATT campaign for a few months and maybe some evening terrifies on overseas goods. Of course the international bankers wouldn't wanna play nice so we might have to take the reins on the FED and jail some of these bankster crooks first. That would be the really hard part as they maintain a great degree of control over the federal government and many state governments. But it's doable - we've done it before!

Ya know I wouldn't even mind asian megacorps reaching across the waters if they had played fairly. Most of my distain comes from the knowledge I gained as part of a security team for various semiconductor manufacturers. Wow, the number of Japanese janitor slash spys we busted were many and constant. And it always traced back to companies like Hitachi, Sony, Matsusta, and so on. Nope, no love for those guys!

The US and UK companies that do location manufacturing and assembly can bid for the contracts when some US or UK corporation takes over.




Nov 11, 2012 at 03:20 PM
 

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15Bit
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


MarcG19 wrote:
....but Nikon is particularly vulnerable as a still-cameras-only manufacturer with a decent position in a dying part of the consumer electronics world. Fortunately, Nikon's products are pretty good overall.


Actually Nikon makes quite a broad range of imaging products going from cameras to high quality microscopes and even CT scanners. They aren't as diverse as Canon for sure, but they are more than just a camera company.



Nov 11, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Bifurcator
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


MarcG19 wrote:
That being said, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't queasy about the money I've put into micro4/3 lenses, and that the resale value of the stuff might not be 1/3 of what I paid because Oly/Panny might discontinue making m4/3 cameras for whatever reason. I don't think similar risk exists with Canikon or Sony.


Most japanese junksters (Sony, Panasonic, Ricoh, etc.) manufactured electronic goods already devalue to 1/3 MSRP price in a few years anyway so I don't see any difference there. GH1 was about $900 new right? These days it's $250. GH2 was also near $1k and today it's easily found for under or around $500 - and it'll continue to go down as well. Meanwhile something like the Canon 1Dm2 is still selling up around $800 even after 6 or 7 years. (wait, how old is the 1Dm2?) Lenses aren't much different either. The Lumix 100-300 for example held at around $800 (or $850 ?) for over half a year but now around two years later what does it go for, $400 somewhere? Whattya wanna bet than in the 1st quarter of 2014 it's selling for $200 or so?

Almost everything that comes from asia's mass-production assembly lines is like that. Cars, electronics, cameras, and so on.




Nov 11, 2012 at 03:42 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


I definitely see that the development of digital cameras has reached a plateau, that reminds me a lot about the film camera situation in the late 80s.


Nov 11, 2012 at 03:56 PM
AhamB
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


Bifurcator wrote:
Ya know I wouldn't even mind asian megacorps reaching across the waters if they had played fairly. Most of my distain comes from the knowledge I gained as part of a security team for various semiconductor manufacturers. Wow, the number of Japanese janitor slash spys we busted were many and constant. And it always traced back to companies like Hitachi, Sony, Matsusta, and so on. Nope, no love for those guys!

The US and UK companies that do location manufacturing and assembly can bid for the contracts when some US or UK corporation takes over.


US Megacorps don't need janitor spies -- they just use technology like Echelon to win contract bids, right?



Nov 11, 2012 at 05:54 PM
ReneMurea
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


Well, the gh2 sells at 50% discount after 3 years and your Canon at 80% discount after 6. I bet you could get more than $200 for any gh2 in 3 years. That's about same rate of depreciation. How is Canon doing any better not to mention that you have to spend 4x more to get the Canon compared with Panasonic?


Bifurcator wrote:
Most japanese junksters (Sony, Panasonic, Ricoh, etc.) manufactured electronic goods already devalue to 1/3 MSRP price in a few years anyway so I don't see any difference there. GH1 was about $900 new right? These days it's $250. GH2 was also near $1k and today it's easily found for under or around $500 - and it'll continue to go down as well. Meanwhile something like the Canon 1Dm2 is still selling up around $800 even after 6 or 7 years. (wait, how old is the 1Dm2?) Lenses aren't much different either. The Lumix 100-300 for example held at around $800
...Show more



Nov 11, 2012 at 06:31 PM
molson
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


AhamB wrote:
US Megacorps don't need janitor spies -- they just use technology like Echelon to win contract bids, right?



If they were more sophisticated, they would just employ hackers to gain access to competitors' internal systems, like the Chinese companies do.



Nov 11, 2012 at 08:15 PM
carstenw
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


I doubt Echelon is still significant in this sense. All the US government needs to do now is strong-arm Google from time to time to get all the knowledge they could possibly want, and more...

About employing hackers to gain information, that is so yesterday. Just start a social site with fields to fill in all this information and people will give it to you for free



Nov 11, 2012 at 08:27 PM
slungu
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


edwardkaraa wrote:
I definitely see that the development of digital cameras has reached a plateau, that reminds me a lot about the film camera situation in the late 80s.


So, the next is to see them disappear because of that tool that does everything but nothing very good but since we get more and more lazy day by day it will suffice. I was talking about the smart-phone.



Nov 11, 2012 at 08:35 PM
rattymouse
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


carstenw wrote:
But a Chinese company, right? As far as I am aware, European companies are less willing to outsource or source from Chinese companies, compared to American companies, both for human rights and local protection of manufacturing capability reasons, so what you are seeing from inside one company is the sum of many different bits, and a limited view at that.


I work for an American company, in China at this time. By far, there are MORE Europeans here in Shanghai than Americans. When I first got here 3 years ago, anytime I saw a westerner, I assumed that they were Americans. Waaay wrong. There are enormous numbers of Germans, Italians and French here in China, all working for their home countries, moving manufacturing jobs from Europe to China. Hell, AIrbus builds planes in China. Boeing does not. Zwilling/Henckel makes their high end cooking pots and pans here in Shanghai. On the way to work I pass by a place called the German Center. A HUGE building devoted to serving the German expat community. There is no such American center here. Not enough people I suppose.

The vast majority of companies that we serve as customers are international. I have a pretty good feel for the pulse of manufacturing. Also, I have colleagues across the industry and at my two former companies. I've worked at the largest industrial supply companies in the world and can safely say that Europe is doing very poorly in manufacturing.

It is pure fantasy to believe that Europeans are not here in China, setting up shop to make things for export back home. Pure fantasy.



Nov 11, 2012 at 09:11 PM
rattymouse
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Sony and Panasonic in trouble?


slungu wrote:
So, the next is to see them disappear because of that tool that does everything but nothing very good but since we get more and more lazy day by day it will suffice. I was talking about the smart-phone.


Yes, but the smart phone is getting better and better. Compare the camera in today's phones to one only 3 years ago. Huuuuge difference.



Nov 11, 2012 at 09:16 PM
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