Sony Corporation is to split the part of its business that makes imaging sensors away from the Devices segment that it currently comes under, to form its own company called Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation. Sony has said that the degree of autonomy that the new company will enjoy will allow it to react more quickly to changing market forces and will encourage the business to grow more quickly. The new company will control its own research and development programs, business plans and sales, whereas now they are dealt with by the parent company.

Semiconductors have proved a great success for Sony, in contrast to many of its other traditional operating areas such as TV and audio, and the company secured over 40% market share for CMOS sensors (by value) in the second quarter of 2015.

Photographers shouldn’t get too excited just yet though, as while DSLR, CSC and mobile phone camera sensors are an important part of the business, imaging sensors for large-scale industrial use form a large proportion of the operation.

At this stage there is no indication of how the change will impact the camera business, and whether this means we see faster generation of high resolution photographic imaging sensors or new technological developments we will have to wait and see. On the surface this is just an internal restructure of a massive business, and the impact on our interests, and whether there will be any at all, isn’t at all clear. We can be optimistic though, if we want to.

For an analysis of the move see this article on CCTV News.


Press release:

Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation to be Established
Reinforcing Devices Segment

Sony Corporation has been implementing a series of measures to reinforce its Devices segment, a key growth driver for the Sony Group. As part of these measures, Sony will adopt a new operational structure for its Devices segment. The aim of this new structure is to enable each of the three main businesses within this segment, namely the semiconductor, battery and storage media businesses, to more rapidly adapt to their respective changing market environments and generate sustained growth. The Devices segment will continue to be overseen by Tomoyuki Suzuki, Executive Deputy President and Corporate Executive Officer, Sony Corporation.

In the semiconductor business, where image sensors are a primary area of focus, Sony will establish Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation ("Sony Semiconductor Solutions") to further reinforce this business, and concentrate on sustained growth. R&D, business control, sales and other operations related to the semiconductor business, which are currently overseen by business groups and R&D units within Sony Corporation, will be transferred to Sony Semiconductor Solutions. The new company will aim to commence operations on April 1, 2016. As part of its mid-term corporate strategy announced in February 2015, Sony outlined its intention to sequentially split out the business units currently within Sony Corporation and operate them alongside existing Sony Group companies. The aim of these measures is to ensure clearly attributable accountability and responsibility from the perspective of shareholders, management policies with an emphasis on sustainable profit generation, and the acceleration of decision-making processes and reinforcement of business competitiveness. The decision to establish Sony Semiconductor Solutions forms part of this strategy.

Terushi Shimizu, currently Deputy President, Device Solutions Business Group, Sony Corporation, is expected to be appointed President, Sony Semiconductor Solutions. Sony Semiconductor Corporation (President: Yasuhiro Ueda) and Sony LSI Design Inc. (President: Makoto Ishii), which cover Sony's semiconductor manufacturing and design operations respectively, will become subsidiaries of Sony Semiconductor Solutions.

In the battery business, Sony Energy Devices Corporation (President: Yoshito Ezure) will continue to engage in integrated business and manufacturing operations. It will remain focused on reinforcing business operations and enhancing product competitiveness, in order to maximize opportunities for expansion in the growing battery market, and enhance its ability to generate profit.

In the storage media business, business functions currently located within Sony Corporation will be transferred to Sony Storage Media and Devices Corporation (President: Mitsunobu Saito), which currently engages in manufacturing. By integrating these business functions and manufacturing operations, the Company aims to ensure continued, stable profit generation. Sony also targets April 2016 for the completion of this transfer.