Sony making a bet on IoT


Two stories in the news at the same time about Sony that draws a picture of the company’s plans.

The first is that Sony is forming Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) from all the units contributing to Playstation, hardware, software, and network, effective April 1. Sony has set the new company up with a US headquarters — San Mateo, CA — with a single CEO, Andrew House. Notably, console sales are way down in Japan, to the lowest level in 24 years, and the future looks to be mobile and handheld gaming there. But Playstation is still huge in the US, so the move makes sense.

The second is that Sony is buying Altair, a chip manufacturer for IoT smart appliances. This is a $212 million investment, taking the company way out of its niche in smartphone camera chips. Last year, Sony bought Toshiba’s image sensor operations, which is part of the same strategic plan: to grow into a major IoT manufacturer of chips and sensors.

So, Sony continues to operate SIE, but has positioned it as a separate operating unit, so it can be spun all the way out or sold off, as the presumed decline in console games ripples through the rest of the world. In parallel, Sony is increasing its bets on IoT, and a world crammed full of smart devices, sensors, and networks to link them together.

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