Sony Ericsson revs up for 2010

Sony Ericsson revs up for 2010
Mobile: What is Sony Ericsson's key focus for 2010?
Vautier: The focus for the UK in 2010 is to deliver on the brand promise of the Communication and Entertainment range, which we started with the Satio and Aino last year. It's about delivering a very narrow, focused portfolio. It is not about certain volume or market share targets. We need to make sure we are relevant in the market, but it's really about getting more traction in the higher value segments in the UK.

What are you doing to drive sales in that higher value segment?

We've got two key launches early in the year, the X10 and Vivaz, which is a nice position to be in. Both of these devices are about bringing together communication and entertainment and the fusion of that. The key signature apps are Timescape and Mediascape. They drive our differentiation and help us provide a better user experience on our products - you will also see that look and feel across a broader range of Sony products.

What is your marketing strategy?
Obviously our competitors will not be sitting still - they will be marketing aggressively. We will be investing almost 20% more year on year in the UK. We believe it is very important that we talk to and reaffirm our position in the market, as we are going after this higher value segment. We want as broad a distribution as possible.

How many devices will you be releasing this year?
The total number of products, including last year's, will be 26. Clearly this is a huge reduction. There are the key five (see below), which will all be out by the end of Q2. Then there will be a number of Walkman products. Some of these will be better suited to prepay, so we will still have relevance in that segment from the middle of 2010 onwards; they will be around the £100 mark. So it's focused - 14 to 16 key new devices this year.

What's Sony Ericsson's policy on operating systems?

One of the key things is that we are a very open company - so we work with the operating systems that provide the best user experience. Android plays a very big role in that, as does Symbian Foundation and Microsoft. Underneath all of this we have our OSE platform.

How sustainable is it to support that many operating systems?

We need to focus our resources on the platforms we believe will provide the best level of business. Some platforms are growing, like Android, and others like Symbian still have huge market share, so that is why we are going to market with that for Vivaz and Vivaz Pro.

There have been questions over the commitment from the parent companies, what's the situation there?
We have had, and continue to have, strong support from our parent companies. In Q4 of 2009, we had a £600m net cash position, which was healthy. Clearly the parents want us to get back into profitability as soon as we can, but they are utterly committed to us.

You've had some well-publicised quality issues, what are you doing to improve that?

Yes, we've had quality issues. They have been due to bigger challenges within the organisation. We've done an enormous amount of work over the last 18 months in restructuring how we develop, how we do R&D, how we source components, what we source and what we test to make sure we get to a certain level before we even get to a project.

How have you changed that process?

We have totally changed the structure and KPIs of the organisation, so it is always around delivering quality. Now the structure is focused on every key element of the device.

We have drastically reduced the number of components we use, which means we can test more efficiently. The key thing is, you can still have huge innovation in your portfolio even though you are using fewer components.

The quality issues have damaged Sony Ericsson's reputation. How are you going to repair that?

We need to prove to our customers that we can bring quality products to the market as we used to. We are, of course, still working with our customers and channels to help our end customers deal with any on-going issues they have.

Is the Sony Ericsson brand strong enough to take back share in the UK this year?

Last year we had challenges, but we achieved some very strong cut through with the launch of Communication and Entertainment. We feel we are in a very good position to maximise the potential from the brand. 2010 will be a fundamentally different year for us.
Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


You must try to appreciate that Aino and Satio were children of the previous regime and started their life BEFORE the changes.
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