10,000 Layoffs Coming Soon for Sony

Two models show Sony's new Tablet P
Two models show Sony’s new Tablet P

Photograph by Mandy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images.

In advance of an official announcement on Thursday, Japanese electronics conglomerate Sony is putting out the word that it will lay off 10,000 workers. That comes on the heels of 10,000 layoffs back in 2005 and a 2008 move that saw 8,000 layoffs plus the elimination of 8,000 temporary positions.

Some of this has to do with a semi-bailout Sony got last month when the Development Bank of Japan agreed to buy the conglomerate’s chemicals unit, but a lot of the forward-looking cuts relate to Sony’s television unit, which is bleeding money. 2011 was the fourth-straight year of losses for Sony, which is promising to focus on core businesses as part of its reorganization. The difficulty, I think, is that Sony is actually such a sprawling firm with so many relatively unsuccessful product lines that it’s a little bit hard to say what the core business is at this point.