updated 07:35 am EDT, Wed April 18, 2012
Sony and AU Optronics may partner on OLED TVs
Sony is said to be in talks with AU Optronics for a partnership to deliver OLED TVs, according to Reuters. The rumor is consistent with Kaz Hirai’s ‘One Sony’ strategy which was detailed last week. In it, Hirai outlined his plans to turn around the TV divisions fortunes by focusing on the development of OLED televisions and moving away from traditional LCD panels.
Hirai also suggested that where Sony divisions and businesses were not able to either spun-off but were viable, that Sony may partner with other companies in order to best leverage its resources. Sony’s TV division has been very much at the center of the company’s financial woes, which saw it recently report a record loss for fiscal 2011 of $6.4 billion. Its troublesome TV division has lost close to $10 billion over the past ten years.
Speaking to Reuters, Nobuo Kurahashi an analyst with Mizuho Investors Securities, believed that the rumor held credence. ‘We know that Sony will have to form some kind of alliance with a third party since it would be difficult for it to capture more share in the OLED TV area alone,’ said Kurahashi. ‘It's not a surprise if it is considering a tie-up (with AU).’
If true, the move may make strategic sense for the Japanese and Taiwanese companies. Both have been experiencing difficulties in the LCD markets which have been overrun by Samsung and LG, both from Korea. Although Sony expects LCD to continue to dominate the TV market for the next three years, it is busy laying down the foundations that will position it to deliver maximum sales when OLED prices start to go mainstream.