As Sony (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 6758.T-JP) issued its third profit warning in six months, Kazuo Hirai's days at the helm of the Japanese consumer electronics company are numbered, said one analyst.
"You can't do this over and over again and have any investor confidence, [there's] certainly no consumer confidence," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group told CNBC on Friday, referring to the latest earnings guidance cut.
Sony on Thursday widened estimated net loss to 130 billion yen for the year ended in March, wider than the 110 billion it forecast in February, when it reversed a previous profit outlook. It will report full-year results later in May.
The company attributed the guidance cut to extra costs tied to its exit from the PC business and impairment charges from weaker overseas demand for Blu-ray discs and DVDs.
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Sony lacks direction and isn't focusing enough on its core competencies, says Enderle.
"It's really unclear what Sony wants to be. They are talking about doing real estate now, that's insane. This is Sony, a consumer electronics company," he added.
Last month, the company - which revolutionized the consumer electronics industry in the 80s with its Walkman portable music player - said it's branching out into the real estate brokerage business in Japan in hopes of creating a new revenue stream as it struggles to stem losses in the electronics business.
"They should be cutting back to their core, and rebuilding the company out. Not trashing around in all different kind of industries," he said.
"Right now they are in crisis, they have to get out of crisis otherwise they are going to go under,'" he said.
Sony needs to shift away from its content business, and focus squarely on hardware, according to Enderle, in particular gaming consoles.
"I would start with the PlayStation 4 - make that the core of Sony, cut everything else back that's not performing and then rebuild the company from that core," he said.
PlayStation 4 has been steadily racking up sales since its launch in November. In March, Sony revealed that the PS4 had surpassed 6 million units sold globally. As of the first week of April, that number had risen to 7 million.
The right leader
Enderle says Sony needs a chief executive that has had already executed a turnaround in the consumer electronics business.
Kirai, who took over as CEO in 2012, pledged to revive Sony's struggling consumer electronics business and generate a profit at the television unit.
Instead, the TV business will lose money for a 10th straight year and he's forecasting a $1.3 billion annual loss.
"You're looking for the kind of person that used to work in Apple - that came up under Steve Jobs - or the guy that turnaround around android for Google or one of the folks that helped build out Windows 95 in the early days. They are still around; they are just not in prevalent jobs," Enderle said.
"Right now [Sony] is in crisis, they have to get out of crisis otherwise they are going to go under," he added.
Bob O'Donnell, founder and chief analyst, Technalysis Research says while Sony's recent profit warnings are clearly not a good sign for Hirai, his role as CEO may not be in jeopardy just yet.
While there is a growing sense of impatience over the company's turnaround among investors, O'Donnell points out that Hirai has been responsible for several positive developments.
"Under Hirai, Sony has done a nice job with the PlayStation 4; they made the tough, but right, decision to get out of the PC market, and have re-sized across various markets [through cutting headcount]," he said.
Furthermore, Hirai is the optimal cultural fit for Sony.
"Hirai is exactly what Sony wanted - an American of Japanese descent - he's a good bridge between home and their biggest market. For that, they may be willing to cut him a bit more slack for a while longer," he said.
"In addition, Japanese companies don't react to market demands in the same way American companies do," he said.
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