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Panasonic will likely survive because it focuses on more than just consumer electronics

A credit rating agency said that Panasonic would likely survive longer than Sony after downgrading both electronics companies.

Credit rating agency Fitch recently lowered Panasonic's rating down two notches to BB, but cut Sony down three notches to BB minus. Other credit rating agencies have put them at the same level.

The reason for Fitch's credit ratings? It claims Panasonic has a "relatively stable consumer appliance business," such as refrigerators and washing machines, aside from just consumer electronics. Sony, on the other hand, is mainly depending on the extremely competitive consumer electronics market.

Right now, tech giants like Apple and Samsung have a strong hold on the electronics market, such as smartphones and tablets.

Sony's troubles largely stem from its failing TV business. It has seen eight straight years of quarterly losses, and last December, Sony decided to shake up its TV division by negotiating a buyout of its 50 percent manufacturing stake with Samsung in the LCD joint venture. It also split its TV division into three units consisting of sales of LCD TVs, outsourcing manufacturing to cheaper foreign facilities and developing future TVs.

To make matters worse, Sony reported a record annual loss of $5.7 billion USD in May 2012.

However, new Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai has been working to turn the company around since he took over in April 2012. In fact, he offered an entirely new plan for restructuring the company. A key idea behind the restructuring was to strengthen core businesses, including digital imaging, games and mobile. He also opted to take over the failing TV business, expand business in emerging markets, create new businesses and realign the business portfolio.

Just last month, Sony closed a factory in Japan and cut 2,000 jobs at its Tokyo headquarters.

While Hirai is trying to make Sony profitable again, Fitch said "most of their electronic business are loss making" and "appear to be overstretched."

Fitch said Panasonic, on the other hand, is focusing on areas other than consumer electronics like home appliances, lithium batteries, solar panels and automotive parts.

Source: Reuters

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RE: my analysis
By aliasfox on 11/28/2012 11:24:47 AM , Rating: 2
rhood - I disagree wholeheartedly.

In the set of people I know, there are three types of picture takers: camera-phone, SLR, and the in-between crowd (which we'll get to).

- Out of convenience, people will shoot on their phone. It's always with them, and most of them have cameras that can make passable images on Facebook.

- People *want* SLR picture quality - in anything other than near-daylight, it is plain as the nose on your face that most point and shoots offer crap image quality in somewhat low light. Anything worse than ISO400 at f-3.0 and you're up a creek with a $150 Elph.

- Nobody wants to carry an SLR - a significant portion of the population has spent ~$500-1500 on an SLR, including many of my friends (some received as gifts). These cameras end up being left at home most of the time because they're too big and heavy. I have a coworker who has two Nikon bodies, but his XZ-1 is with him 3x as much. Another one has a Nikon and a m4/3 body, but carries around his RX100.

- Give people an option to have a picture that can start to approach SLR quality in a restaurant/bar/party scenario? People will listen, and they have. I carry an XZ-1, my gf carries a Lumix GF3. We both have friends that carry S90/S95s and other similar cameras. None of us do much more than vacation shooting and get-together shooting (well, the girls take lots of food pictures). We all paid $4-500 for our setups. The RX100, at a street price of only a little bit more, in a form factor as good as an S95, with picture quality as good as a GF3, would get a lot of attention next time we need/want to upgrade.

- I believe the segment that's at risk isn't the high end pocketable (a segment which every manufacturer has at least one entry right now), it's the low margin <$200 supercompacts - yes, the picture quality is better than a cameraphone, but is it worth the hassle when 'better than a cameraphone' is still going to get you crap in the scenarios you're most likely to be using it in? And with low margins, manufacturers have little incentive to actually improve this segment (faster lenses, larger sensors).

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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