Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Sony Layoffs Version 2.0: Another 8,000 (Or 16,000) Jobs

Sony CEO Howard Stringer is taking an ax to the electronics giant and will hack away thousands of jobs. Sound familiar? It should: Stringer’s newest cuts, announced last night–8,000 full-time positions, plus 8,000 seasonal and temp workers–sound a lot like the cuts he made in 2005, when he had just taken control of the company.

The difference: Back then, when Stringer fired 10,000 workers, he was trying to restructure Sony (SNE) so that it could focus its diffuse product line and compete with an array of rivals, from Apple (AAPL) to Samsung. But now he’s just cutting because the world’s economy is in miserable shape.

That has to be frustrating for Stringer (and miserable for the people he fires), because not too long ago, it seemed like his turnaround efforts had borne fruit: Sony had won a costly and risky format war over the next-generation DVD format, its PS3 game player was beginning to get some traction, and the company was making encouraging advances in the TV market. But unless people have money to buy those TVs and Blu-ray discs, that won’t matter.

You can ask Sony employees yourself about this at the Consumer Electronics Show next month–if you can find them. I’m told that while Sony, unlike many others, is keeping a large presence at the electronic convention’s show floor, many of the people who used to fly out to Las Vegas for the event are staying put this year. My guess: You won’t hear many of them complaining.

Here’s Stringer speaking with All Things Digital’s Walt Mossberg in May at this year’s D6: