The 2009 Consumer Electronics Show is just around the corner, with proceedings kicking off with Wednesday evening's keynote by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The following morning, Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer will take the stage to announce his plans for the coming year--plans that, according to the Times of London, may be drastic indeed.
Citing "company sources," the Times says that "sweeping" and "sacred-cow-slaying" changes may be in the offing at Sony. Specifically, the venerable British newspaper says that Stringer will likely expand on the 16,000 job cuts that the company announced in December, and may announce changes that heavily impact its Japanese operations as well.
Indeed, sources close to the Welsh-born CEO, the first Westerner to head Tokyo-based Sony, say that he has been clashing with the company's "entrenched management" in Japan since he took over the company in 2005. One of the first casualties of that internecine battle was Ken Kutaragi, the so-called "Father of the PlayStation."
In late 2006, the company announced that the often-outspoken head of Sony Computer Entertainment would be replaced by Kaz Hirai, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America. Though the move was portrayed as voluntary, later reports pointed to Stringer's clashes with an "uncommunicative" Kutaragi as a factor, as were the multibillion-dollar losses incurred in launching the PlayStation 3. Kutaragi would leave the company entirely seven months later.
The Times report does not mention SCE or the PlayStation brand, despite recent reports that Sony may break even on PS3 production costs this year. GameSpot will have more on Sony and Stringer's keynote from CES 2009 later this week.