8. Sony in HQ
Personal Information Products Group (PIPG)
I was assigned as Senior General Manager for PIPG in early 1994 and my initial mission was to quietly closing down Sony Palm-top computer as well as closing Sony OEM PowerBook supplied to Apple computer.
PIPG products were desk-top PC, Data Discman, Personal Communicator (General Magic Project at early stage) and look for new business opportunities.
We have addressed two major area of potential businesses, one is to look at a Palm-top computer with capable of synchronizing Note-PC or Desk-top PC.
We looked at MS and Apple and decided to open discussion with Apple computer for possible licensing arrangement. The meeting took place in Sony HQ and Apple top management such as Michel Spindler joined and requested them to give Sony an exclusive license of Mac O/S for Japan market and Sony to Develop handheld devices which is possible to sync with Mac Note or Desk-top.
The idea of this was welcomed by Apple management but it was rejected as exclusive licensees by Apple. They had a handheld device that could not sync with Mac and having to find their own solutions.
The second area of our focus is to somehow obtain second OEM customer
and the engineers are started to discuss possibilities with ex-Apple people who
have joined to Dell Computer.
Dell is looking for a color display Note-PC and Sony is requested to take
this potential OEM business.
The one of a major issue is how to obtain right sized LCD display and from whom!
We identified possible manufacturer and started discussion with Sharp R&D.
We have visited their R&D and requested to have size our customer requested at the price in three years time. This meant that we would like to purchase LCD at a price they will sell it in 3 years later. This was created a large issue for Sharp since the size of production master can only take one piece of LCD.
They had an internal discussion and decided that they we will be able to supply us with LCD at a price we requested.
The other issue we have is how to make profit out of this OEM business.
We had monthly operating committee meeting and asked me by a director in charge of accounting to make sure PIPG will make profit. I have made a small argument with him hat Sony must have much more important issues to discuss in the operating committee than PIPG small profit or loss.
We have ended this financial year with profit out of OEM business.
However, I do not understand the top management takes No risk to generate new business!