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Summary:

Sony is going to allow third parties to design and produce laptops with the VAIO brand, according to an announcement by the company. Sony has the reputation of being the “Apple” of Windows laptops, innovative designs at a price premium. Let’s how this affects that reputation.

Sony VAIO P

Sony is going to allow third parties to design and produce laptops with the VAIO brand, according to a surprise announcement by the deputy president of Sony VAIO Business Group. Sony has long enjoyed the reputation of being the “Apple” of Windows laptops, innovative designs at a price premium. Ryosuke Akahane stated that to differentiate between laptops made solely by Sony and those by third parties, Sony will create internal designations of Division One and Division Two products. One will be Sony’s as you might expect and Division Two will be products produced outside.

Confusingly, the Division Two Sony laptops will still be branded VAIO and look to be Sony’s own products in every way. The move is to raise market share according to Sony, as third party manufacturers can make products more cheaply than Sony. It sounds to me like a way to dilute your brand reputation in the marketplace, with customers no longer associating the VAIO brand strictly with Sony products.

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  1. I do not support this move by Sony. the only way I can see myself somewhat liking it is if Sony inspects/tests the incoming tier “two” models, and sees that they fit the feel, quality and style that the Vaio brand has been known for. Otherwise, I don’t see another reason for it, besides gaining market share, at the cost of build quality, and customer loyalty.

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  2. Wow, this is dumb. So basically the quality control is going to go down the tubes, kinda like when Lenovo bought Thinkpad. I was thinking about getting a nice Sony for my next laptop. I might reconsider now.

    Sony’s doesn’t have much of a price premium if you’re looking to buy something decent. If you’re looking to buy some disposable piece of plastic crap, yes, maybe Sony looks a bit pricey, but so does Apple, Thinkpad, or Fujitsu… all the “quality” brands.

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  3. Taking the design out would not be a bad move for Sony – it’s been done before, and it would love to see the design input from a company like Bang and Olufsen or a well-known design studio go into a new notebook/netbook.

    Taking the production away though does concern me, for it raises the question of quality control. Sony’s products have always commanded a price premium, but building a cheap imitation that will end up in the repair shop won’t make many buyers happy, and will likely end up tarnishing the Sony name as well.

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  4. does it really matter? Sony hasnt been a relevant company in any industry for ages.

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  5. I believe most Sony laptops were already manufactured by Taiwanese companies Wistron, Quanta and Foxconn. Same goes for almost every other major brands.

    Isn’t this only different because the design is now also being outsourced to introduce price differentiation?

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  6. This move will only hasten Sony’s demise.

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