Sony “credible alternative” to Apple says head of UK and Ireland

Operators are looking for an alternative to Apple as the “leading brand in terms of entertainment today” and Sony “has the assets” to position it as such as the battle for consumer loyalty moves to the living room. That’s the view of Sony’s head of mobile in the UK and Ireland as the Japanese vendor makes a renewed assault on the mobile space – the first time Sony has been in the handset market as a solo brand for ten years.

Pierre Perron told that “who owns the living room will win the war” and that the future of success in the smartphone space will be dependent on the integration of that smartphone with a coherent experience across television, PC, tablet and gaming devices.

Most vendors that simply manufacture smartphones will become isolated, he suggested, as the production and financial resources of Chinese players push them to the fore in the standalone handset space.

Sony has end to end capabilities that are unmatched, Perron said, quoting outgoing group president Howard Stringer’s assertion that the firm’s footprint allows it to do everything from producing a mobile phone to winning an Oscar for its film content.

The difference between Sony and Apple, he said, is that Sony is happy to work with the operator community to help it maintain relevance in the value chain. This owes much to Sony’s dependence on operators’ retail channels as a means to sell handsets to consumers.

“We are more than willing to engage with all the operators in discussions about how can we make sure we provide a relevant and compelling proposition for  the connected entertainment experience,” he said. “We need to engage with these operators in a way that creates a win-win proposition so that they stay in the value chain and we are more visible in their retail network.”

In the UK Vodafone is not ranging Sony’s latest Xperia smartphones, although Perron said he had strong support from the other four network providers, as well as key retailers.

“We will not be ranged by an operator just because we have the cheapest or thinnest smartphone. Most of the revenue opportunity will come on whether we are able to provide to their customers, who are also our consumers, an alternative to the likes of Apple,” he said.

Read the full interview here.


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