It's the end of an era for Sony. The electronics manufacturer has announced that they plan to sell their VAIO computer division to a Japanese investment fund. Sony will stop making computers, and move their focus to tablets and smartphones. Here's what we know so far about this developing story.
1. VAIO Was Actually an Acronym
— The Verge (@verge) February 6, 2014
Many of the people who bough VAIO computers just thought the name VAIO was a cool-sounding, made-up word. But in fact, VAIO stood for both "Video Audio Integrated Operation" and "Visual Audio Intelligent Organizer" over the years, according to The Verge. The VAIO division first debuted 18 years ago, way back in 1996.
2. VAIO Was Sold to Japan Industrial Partners
— e27 (@e27co) February 5, 2014
Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) is a Japanese investment firm. According to a company overview posted on Bloomberg Businessweek's site, JIP was founded in 2000. The firm "specializes in investing in turnaround, buyouts, and carve-out investments. It primarily invests in the manufacturing sector."
3. Layoffs Are Expected as Part of the Deal
According to The Independent, Sony plans to lay off about 5,000 workers.
However, there is some good news. CNN reports that 250 to 300 Sony employees will be transferred to the new VAIO projects under JIP.
4. VAIO Was Ailing, But Sony Is Strong
Can't help but be saddened by Sony quitting the PC market. I've recommended so many VAIOs to friends over the years. http://t.co/J85EPNXYKW
— Tim Danton (@timdanton) February 6, 2014
The International Business Times notes that while the VAIO division was struggling, other parts of the Sony empire are flourishing. The company's mobile division saw a 45% increase, while the company's video game console division saw a 66% increase.
5. VAIO Will Become a Japan-Only Brand…For Now
Mac OS X on Sony Vaio hardware? Apparently, that's exactly what Steve Jobs wanted: http://t.co/RtrnMoR35X
— TechRadar (@techradar) February 6, 2014
According to a Sony press release, it appears that the new VAIO branded computers will be for sale in Japan only…at least, for the time being. The release states:
"Following reevaluation of the product lineup, the new company will initially concentrate on sales of consumer and corporate PCs in the Japanese market and seek to optimize its sales channels and scale of operations, while evaluating possible further geographic expansion."