Sony's newest addition to the camera world: the SLT-A57
'Was the Roman Empire's collapse a result of over-expansion?' It's the sort of question that university lecturers put at the bottom of an exam paper to allow anyone who hasn't revised to ramble on interminably and at least write something. If Sony's latest corporate reorganisation fails, and the company continues it overall downward spiral, future business analysts might, too, ask if Sony's demise was precipated by being too big.
From 1 April this year, Sony will embrace a new corporate structure that merges consumer and professional branches, streamlines the decision-making process, and places digital imaging, gaming, and mobile devices at the foundations of its business. The initiative is called One Sony (how very unifying) and is the brainchild of the incoming CEO Kazuo Hirai.
Over the past few years, Sony has struggled to convince people that they should be buying Sony TVs, has divorced itself from Ericsson, and can't really compete with the likes of Netflix or Amazon when it comes to content access. But people love Playstations and Sony held second place in the market share of worldwide camera sales in 2010. (17.9%, compared to Canon's leading 19%.) So they know where their bread is buttered.
Another important move is to appoint an executive to unify Sony products and create a better user experience. Will this make it easier for us to get our photos from our Sony cameras onto our Sony tablets and our Sony HDTVs? Maybe.
Even if Sony cameras aren't your bag, they are a key player in the camera market; their video cameras are favoured by many cameramen, their development of SLT technology is exciting, and they're a prime mover-and-shaker in the EVIL camera market. Sony is one of the companies helping to keep things moving along in the digital imaging world, so hopefully this restructure will help it to stay that way.
(And as for the fall of the Roman Empire, size did have something to do with it, but it sure as heck wasn't the only factor.)