Television

Sony cuts profit forecast for the year

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MUMBAI: Japanese electronics major Sony CEO Howard Stringer has his hands full in his attempts to turn the company's fortunes around.

The firm has cut its annual profit outlook. This is because of poor sales, rising costs at its games unit and a recall of millions of batteries.

Media reports quote Sony stating that net income for the year ending 31 March 31 will drop 35 per cent to $675 million. Sony also revised its net profit for the year to $673 million. This marks a decline of 38 per cent from the $1.1 billion it had projected in July 2006.

Earnings in the second quarter slid 93 per cent to ?2 billion after the company recalled notebook batteries because several burst into flames. Sony maintained its sales forecast at ?8.23 trillion.

Media reports state that Sony has already delayed the PlayStation 3 next-generation video game console for the European market by four months. It is also delaying the sales date of LocationFree TV Box LF-Box1. The product streams television shows wirelessly to other gadgets.

The number of battery packs being recalled globally by Sony is 9.6 million. This means a cost of $429 million. Reports however add that the scene might become worse as this figure doesn't cover the damage compensation that companies may demand. Toshiba has said it may demand compensation.

The battery problem stemmed from lithium-ion batteries that can short-circuit, causing some computers to overheat or burst into flames. On the video game side last month, Sony said that it had run into production problems for its PlayStation 3 video game console. It was expected to start selling the product in the US and Japan next month.

Reports adds that Sony is equipping the console with the Blu-ray high-definition DVD player and the cell chip. This enables more lifelike graphics by making the console about 35 times faster than the previous edition of the product PlayStation 2. The company hopes that these features will justify the price and that the perception will be that the PlayStation is more than just a toy.

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