Sony decides a change will do it good, appoints new mobile chief as sales shrink

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Sony has decided it’s a good time for a change, and announced its mobile division will now be run by Hiroki Totoki, who will replace Kunimasa Suzuki as President of Sony Mobile Communications on November 16. Suzuki has held the role since early 2012, and will remain with the company as an executive vice president in the entertainment division.

Totoki occupies a business strategy and development role at the moment, but Reuters calls him one of Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai’s “closest confidants.” A fresh outlook and some new blood could be exactly what Sony needs in its struggling mobile division, particularly because the latest financial results, published on October 30, are filled with more bad news.

Its forecast for smartphone sales this financial year have been cut again, this time going down to 41 million, lower than the 43 million expected during the summer. In April, Sony was expecting 50 million sales by the end of the year. It’s not all doom and gloom, and the results do show a slight 1.2 percent increase over this time last year, but even this was marred by declining sales in Japan.

During October, Sony said it would no longer make low-end phones, and concentrate on the more expensive, premium hardware, for which it’s best known. In September, the company announced the new Xperia Z3 smartphone, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, and the SmartWatch 3.

Since then, Verizon has confirmed it will launch the Xperia Z3V – it’s own, tweaked version of the Z3 – while T-Mobile will carry the standard international model. Additionally, Verizon will sell the SmartWatch 3. This is a considerable improvement in Sony’s presence in the U.S., where in the past its mobile hardware has been difficult to acquire through any network. Perhaps this, along with Totoki’s appointment, heralds a change for the better inside Sony’s mobile division.