Sony Corp.’s quarterly profit dropped 8.6 percent as a strong yen and falling TV prices erased the boost the electronics and entertainment company got from its hit movie “The Social Network.”
Tokyo-based Sony said Thursday it earned ¥72.33 billion in profit for the October-December quarter, down from ¥79.17 billion the year before. Quarterly sales fell 1.4 percent to ¥2.21 trillion.
Sony in recent years has lost much of its luster — once symbolized in its Walkman portable music player that pioneered personal music on-the-go in the 1980s, catapulting the company into a household name around the world.
Nowadays it is struggling against flashier and more efficient rivals, including Apple Inc. with its iPhone, iPod and iPad machines, as well as South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., from which Sony purchases liquid crystal displays, a key component in flat-panel TVs.
Sony, which makes the Vaio personal computer and PlayStation 3 video game console, stuck to its forecast for a profit of ¥70 billion in the year through this March. That would mark a reversal from the red ink racked up a year earlier.
But Sony lowered its annual sales forecast to ¥7.2 trillion from the ¥7.4 trillion projected in October. That would be flat compared with the previous year that ended last March.
Punishing its bottom line for the third quarter was the strong yen, which hurts Japanese exporters such as Sony by pushing down the value of overseas earnings. The dollar now trades at about ¥83, down from ¥89 a year ago.
Sony’s flat-panel TV sales were up in unit numbers but lower prices hurt profits, the company said.
On the positive side were strong sales of Blu-ray disc recorders and the box office performance of “The Social Network,” a David Fincher-directed film based on the story of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
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