Sony Dips below 1,000 Yen for first time since 1980 after peaking at 16,950 yen in March 2000
Sony’s shares dipped to 990 yen for the first time since 1980, before recovering slightly in trading Monday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The stock had peaked at 16,950 yen in March 2000. The company said it was first time that its stock price had traded below 1,000 yen since August 1980 – the year after it introduced the iconic Walkman portable cassette player to the world in 1979. The decline in Sony’s shares is a symptom of its decline since huge success with the Walkman three decades ago. Battered by competition from Apple and Samsung, Sony has lost money for four straight years – and for eight years in its core television business.
Sony last month reported a record annual loss of 457 billion yen ($5.7 billion) for the year through March 2012. Sony is aiming for a comeback under Kazuo Hirai, appointed president earlier this year, who has headed the gaming division and built his career in the U.S. Sony forecast a return to profit for the fiscal year through March 2013 at 30 billion yen ($375 million), banking on the growing smartphone and tablet businesses. Sony plans to cut 10,000 jobs, or about 6 percent of its global work force.
Widely admired in the 1980s as an innovative power, Sony fell behind when digital music players and flat TVs became hits. Sony’s gadgets have lost popularity as consumers flock to products from Apple such as the iPhone and iPod. Sony also lost out in the TV market to South Korea’s Samsung and other Asian competitors. Sony also plans to seek new growth in emerging markets such as India and Mexico. In 2010, Sony stopped Japanese production of its Walkman, which sold 220 million units worldwide.