”We’re still here!” That’s the rallying cry being heard around Sony’s (SNE) headquarters these days. The company technology leadership in the 1980s and 1990s, led by its Walkmans and Trinitron TVs, has been supplanted by companies such as Apple (AAPL),
Apple’s growth has surely been impressive, as sales are likely to reach $190 billion in the current year, compared with an expected $75 to $80 billion for Sony. Still, Apple is worth nearly $500 billion, but Sony’s market value has fallen to a paltry $11 billion. Said another way, Apple has a sales base that is 150% larger than Sony’s but a market value that is 4,000% larger.
In a bid to fight for market relevance, Sony is taking several steps. First, it is heavily investing in a family of new high-end smart phones that it hopes to launch later this year. The company is already a major player in the video game market, with its PlayStation gaming console, and the company aims to regain traction in the TV market, showing off a line of Ultra-HD TVs at the recent Consumer Electronics Show.
This is a stock that moved above $100 in the late 1990s, was as high as $60 in 2007, was at $40 in early 2011 and now sits at just $15. The long selloff has made this into an intriguing turnaround play, if management can execute on its plans.