Vaio returns from the dead wearing sharper suit, bolts in neck

Japanese private equity firm aims reanimated ex-Sony brand upmarket

Sony Vaio is making a comeback overseas, with plans to relaunch the brand on Windows 10 devices in the US and Brazil later this year.

Last year, Sony axed 5,000 workers worldwide and offloaded its loss-making PC business to private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners (JIP).

Chief executive of JIP Yoshimi Ota told the Wall Street Journal that Vaio can succeed with a modest strategy of filling high-end niches, rather than pursuing mass-market users the way Sony did.

Sony focused too much on market share rather than profitability, he said. The new products will appear in the US this October, with future plans to flog machines in Brazil.

“At the new Vaio, I ask every project team to make realistic goals and be accountable,” he said.

He told the paper Vaio recorded an operating loss in the financial year ended in June, but expects an operating profit this year as the company is seeing strong sales of new laptops released this year.

The strategy will be viewed as a bold move by many, as a number of PC vendors are struggling to increase sales in the already-saturated PC market.

Research from analysts Canalys this month revealed the total PC market dropped 11.8 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter to 109 million desktops, notebooks and tablets.

Even the top performers posted a decline. The "winners" in the market during the quarter were Lenovo, Apple, HP and Dell – because they all reported declines that were below the market average. ®

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