Sony (s sne) 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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