WSJ.com - Sony's Profit Surges, Helped By Mobile-Phone Venture "Sony Corp. Wednesday reported a surge in earnings for the latest quarter on increased sales of flat-panel television sets and digital still cameras, and improved results at its Sony Ericsson mobile-phone joint venture.
Sony also booked a ¥12.8 billion gain as a subsidiary received proceeds from a license agreement with Microsoft Corp. related to a settlement of a patent-related lawsuit, the company said.
But operating income declined nearly 50% in Sony's core electronics segment to ¥6.9 billion, partly due to restructuring costs. In recent years, Sony has suffered from growing competition from cheaper U.S. and Asian rivals that have chipped away at its previous domination in electronics. Sony plans to spend ¥130 billion on restructuring this fiscal year after spending ¥168 billion in the previous fiscal year.
Sales plunged in CRT television sets and portable-audio equipment, while sales were solid in digital cameras and flat-panel television sets. Sales in the electronics segment totaled ¥1.098 trillion, down 0.2% from a year earlier.
In the game sector, sales shrank 16% to ¥105 billion on slowing sales of the PlayStation 2 video-game machine. Sony shipped just 710,000 PlayStation 2 machines for the quarter, a decrease of nearly two million machines from a year earlier.
Sony's game business, once its most profitable sector, sank into an operating loss of ¥2.9 billion, compared to an operating profit of ¥1.8 billion a year earlier."