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Sony TV; What Caused the Downfall

Updated on October 28, 2015
brakel2 profile image

Audrey's interest in computer technology convinced her to research and write about other areas of technology.

The Downfall

What caused the downfall of Sony TV? In the eighties and nineties,it was the top brand, and many families owned one and bragged about the clear picture and outstanding sound.The pride and love for that television brand echoed everywhere. On February 10, 2014, an article appeared in Bloomberg online and other media outlets stating the company is profitable but not in the electronic industry. It is an electronic company, so that news shocked readers. Everyone wondered what went wrong with the Japanese company. The following information provides the answers.

Graveyard TVs

Stockpile TVs Sony
Stockpile TVs Sony

The Announcement

Sony was usually more expensive than other televisions. Many customers liked the quality so much they were willing to spend the money for a superior television. Then the inevitable happened. The Japanese company announced a one billion dollar loss, the sale of its computer business, and a split of the TV business into a separate unit, which it could eventually sell. Thousands of employees will lose their jobs in this company plan. However, aside from the electronics, the corporation does profit from its financial products in auto insurance and life insurance. The electronics were a liability and have been in the red since 2003. Mr. Hirai blamed the tsunami for part of the problem.

Sony TV Crew In Best Years

TV Crew
TV Crew

Sony Outsourcing

Sony has outsourced their small and medium size tvs for some time, even the design of the television.Those tvs have only one original company part with remaining parts belonging to Samsung and others. The plan is to concentrate on large Ultra HD TVs which are not outsourced..

Example of rear projection TV similar to the set with flaws
Example of rear projection TV similar to the set with flaws | Source

Faulty Design

An example of the downfall is the story of the family who purchased a $2300 television in 2003.which lasted for three years and was out of warranty. No one wanted to deal with this heavy TV. One service man did come out but said it looked like a major problem, not worth the money to repair. A company representative looked at the set briefly and stated it needed to go out of state for repair. The brand began to go downhill with several design flaws that resulted in a lawsuit against Sony for some models.. One was a color flaw and the other a flaw in the lamp area, prompting blinking lights that never turned on the television. The family reached a decision not to have the set repaired and never learned about the flaws that appeared after several years of ownership of such sets. They later learned that some consumers received money from the lawsuit..

Japan, the home of the electronics company.
Japan, the home of the electronics company.

Explanation by Economist Gerhard Fasol

According to Tokyo based economist, Gerhard Fasol, and other experts, the corporation failed to move along into the digital age and lost to the companies who made the transition. They remained loyal to their mechanical devices, and did not make use of all the updates in the digital age. Apple and Samsung got into the phone with Internet business. Samsung TV began to expand on quality, design, and price, while Sony lagged. Experts say that dissension and a lack of consensus on how to proceed became issues. No one took charge in the leadership to make the company thrive and profit. The old story of ignoring the theory "Do it when? Do it now." prevented many companies from taking advantage of technical advances over the years.

Sony CEO

The current CEO is Kazuo Hirai who states that, with this February announcement, the bulk of Sony's restructuring is complete. Much of their concentration will also focus on video games, mobile devices, and digital cameras, which show some promise and income. Mr. Hirai has been the CEO since 2012 when he took over for Howard Stringer who was with the company for fourteen years.

Empty Showrooms in Japan

The decline is very sad. An interview with a Mom and Pop store proprietor in Japan in 2012 revealed the company has not provided them with that brand for some time. They stated the fancy showrooms and stores are deserted. The glamour of the famous electronics firm, with its superior color, disappeared like a puff of smoke. Someone saw a once expensive rear projection set sitting in the trash near their store.


Sony, a once profitable TV company, has announced the layoff of many employees, and, among other moves, is splitting off the television business and outsourcing it. For the last ten years, Sony has not shown a profit. By not keeping up with the times and neglecting quality control, they have been deluged with complaints and delivered poor customer service. A lawsuit filed against them for numerous complaints did not help the situation. Some Wega and Bravia models delivered poor results due to design flaws..

Some consumers still possess good TV sets, but Samsung is now in the driver's seat. Sony did too little too late and disappointed themselves and their customers. It is a sad day for Sony and all the patrons who used to love the beautiful picture and attractive chassis. People become attached to their "stuff" and even though they no longer possess it, the memory of their favorite Sony TV may linger in their memories forever.

Home Base is Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Japan:
Tokyo, Japan

get directions

This is the home of the electronics company.


Did you recently (2010-2014) have a Sony TV that broke down quickly?

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    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Tiffany - Panasonic is a good brand. I had a Panasonic recorder that I used to play the small cassettes a while back, and it was a winner. Panasonic and Samsung are my favorite brands. Sony Walkmans used to be great, but now have disappeared like many other Sonys. Blessings, Audrey

    • profile image

      Tiffany Cheng 

      3 years ago

      On the other hand, I still like Panasonic TVs. My grandpa's Panasonic TV still lasts for 8 years.

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Tiffany - It is a sad day for Sony that the company lost its way, when it was such a great company. Many folks loved their TVs and are sad about the downfall. We owned two fantastic Sonys, and the third one was a lemon. It lasted three years. You are right about the reasons for the failure, as it has all been documented. It is a waste, as you say. Thank you for commenting, It sounds like you had first hand knowledge, and I appreciate your input. Blessings, Audrey

    • profile image

      Tiffany Cheng 

      3 years ago

      Yes I also noticed the same thing about Sony.

      When I was a child, I used to see a lot of Sony TVs at the electronic stores along with the other Japanese TV brands such as Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba, and Sanyo. A lot people during my childhood years always raved about Sony and other Japanese TV brands. As a child I saw a lot Japanese TV brand commercials like Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Sanyo.

      Then, when I grew older I gradually see lesser and lesser Sony TVs along with other Japanese TV brands. On the same time, I gradually see more and more Korean TVs like Samsung and LG entering the electronic stores. Nowadays, I often see people always raving about Samsung and LG TVs. Even the TV brand commercials nowadays are chock full with Samsung and LG TVs commercials.

      The reason of why Sony suffered from decline is because the company got a problem with the management and the innovation capability. Sony's potential is pretty much wasted I must say.

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Thanks Pamela for your nice comments about my hub. I loved my Sony TVs, and miss the clear color and sound. It seems like some gigantic companies don't progress with the times while other companies work smarter and get ahead of them. We have a Toshiba that doesn't compare with the original Sonys. Hope you are doing well and good luck to you. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings. Audrey

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I remember always having a Sony TV some years ago. It is a shame they did not keep up with the advancements like the other companies did. This was a good hub with informative information.

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi tsmog I am glad you like my Sony hub. It is like you said about the layoffs. It's happening near where you live. I wish the Trinetron would come back in its glorious color. I will visit your profile and check out your hubs. Take care. Blessings. Audrey. I have a Toshiba now, and it's pretty reliable.

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Angied83 - I know it is sad about Sony TV. Thanks so much for reading my hub and for your nice comments, Your heavy TV sounds like the one we had for only three years and replaced it with a flat screen Toshiba. Samsung has become very popular, and we know people who love their Samsung. It is so weird that no one knew it was going to happen to Sony. Maybe they will come back, but it sounds rather dismal. It is a pleasure to meet you. I don't think our paths have crossed before. Good luck with your writing. I will be visiting your profile. Blessings, Audrey

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Vellur. Thanks for reading my hub on Sony TV. It is a highly tech product that once was loved by the masses. No one will ever know what really happened, but experts have a good idea. I like your profile and your hubs and will stop by again. Blessings. Audrey

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      4 years ago from Escondido, CA

      A very thorough article brakel2. This touched my interest and heart as in a locale nearby, Rancho Bernardo, Sony's Trinitron TV was/is manufactured. Friends are being laid off as we speak - 400. Once (70's) it was an 'event' to go to a friends house to watch a football game on their trinitron screen. An amazing display of color and definition untouched by others. Now I understand what the local news broadcast only touched upon with the effect of this present layoff of workers affecting their families.


    • angied83 profile image

      Angie D 

      4 years ago from Cebu, PH

      Thanks for this information. We've had Sony TVs when I was growing up. The last one was a huge TV set that weighed almost a ton. Repairing it cost more than a brand new TV so my father decided to buy a new flat screen TV (not a Sony this time). Very sad news indeed. But looking back I've noticed more Samsungs being displayed in most store fronts the past few years. So I guess I should have seen this coming. Voted up as interesting!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      Thank you for the information, Sony used to be the best, it is really sad to see it go this way. Great hub, an eye opener.

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Writer Fox. It is a shock about Sony. and no one saw it coming. We used to have Sonys and loved them. Another similar downfall was Kodak in a city where I Iived. It is always sad when huge companies flounder for poor leadership and failure to keep up with technology. Thanks for your interest in this hub. Good luck Audrey

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 

      4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      Wow! This is an eye-opener. It's hard to believe they lost their market for TVs. I had no idea that the company couldn't keep up with the technology when it was at the top of the industry for so long. Enjoyed and voted up!

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Flourish Thanks for reading my hub and for your insight into the situation. The Sony article and circumstances are very interesting to me. I do wish, like you , that others would write about failures of the industries, or even successes. We sure could use that information to stay abreast of the events happening in front of our eyes. I appreciate your hubs so much. Blessings. Audrey.

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Bill. It's a sad time for Sony. I loved my Sony TVs. I don't know why they didn't have better leadership like Steve Jobs. One article said they need to look at USA. I don't know if that's true. We have poor leadership in places. Thanks for reading and for your kind words. Blessings. Audrey

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      Very unfortunate that they did not adapt enough to stay market relevant. I was reading earlier today about JC Penney being in a similar fix. It's a tough economic world out there and you sure cannot rest on your laurels. I'd love to see more hubs about yesterday's mega businesses that are quickly falling by the wayside.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I had no idea; I missed this announcement. My goodness, Sony has been around seemingly forever. For some reason this saddens me. Anyway, thank you for the information my friend.


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