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Sony forms image sensor subsidiary

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:semiconductor? battery? image sensors? CMOS?

In order to boost its semiconductor, battery and storage media businesses, Japan's Sony Corp. has decided to split off its semiconductor operations into a separate company.

The new semiconductor subsidiary, Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corp., will commence operations on April 1, 2016, Sony said. All semiconductor R&D, business operations, sales and other operations related to semiconductors will be transferred from business groups and R&D units within Sony Corp. to the new company.

"The aim of these measures is to ensure clearly attributable accountability and responsibility from the perspective of shareholders, management policies with an emphasis on sustainable profit generation and the acceleration of decision-making processes and reinforcement of business competitiveness," Sony said through a statement.

Image sensors will be the main area of focus for Sony Semiconductor Solutions, Sony said. Sony is currently the Number one supplier of CMOS image sensors globally with about 27 per cent market share worldwide in 2014, according to market research firm Yole Developpment.

Image sensor vendors

CMOS image sensor vendors ranked by 2014 market share. (Source: Yole Developpement)

Sony was the No. 16 ranked semiconductor vendor overall during the first half of 2015, according to market research firm IC Insights Inc.

"Sony was able to transition smoothly as the market moved to CMOS image sensors for camera phones and tablets," said Brian O'Rourke, senior principal analyst, Consumer Devices and MEMS & Sensors at IHS. "Today, it dominates the CMOS image sensor business, with Q2 2015 revenues of slightly over $1 billion, good for over 42 per cent of the worldwide market, nearly three times the revenue of its closest competitor, Samsung Electronics."

O'Rourke further explained that the new Sony Semiconductor Solutions will simplify the corporate structure so that the company can "react more rapidly" in the image sensor market.

"If Sony has had a weakness in the image sensor market, it has been exploiting new markets and getting new sensors to market quickly," O'Rourke said. "A recent example is the release of CMOS sensors with 1? px, the next step in CMOS phone sensor design. Both OmniVision and Samsung have already announced 1? models, while Sony has not."

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