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Sony logFirst Microsoft, now Sony – mere weeks after Gates’ gang posted their first ever sales drop, the Japanese giant has ended up in the red for the first time in over a decade.

Sony reported a loss of ¥98.9bn (£685m) for the year to the end of March, compared to a profit of ¥369.4bn last year. However, the company was actually prepared for a worse blow, predicting losses of ¥150bn in January.

Sony has blamed the credit crunch as well as the strong Yen for the result – the latter explanation being used by several Japanese companies as a strong yen makes for more expensive exports.  Hitachi, for instance, posted a loss of ¥787.3bn last week – a record for a Japanese manufacturer.

Sony reckons it’ll be in for a ¥120bn loss this year, although the appointment of Welsh-born US citizen Howard Stringer to president – the company’s first non-Japanese leader – in April has boosted its shares considerably.

“Their outlook gave me the impression that their business is heading for a gradual recovery,” said Fujio Ando, senior managing director at Chibagin Asset Management.

“But it would all depend on whether they would be able to start producing popular products, because right now they have no ‘Number One’ products.”

That sound you just heard was Nintendo’s executives laughing and having a money fight.