Sony posts $1.2 billion loss as mobile business falls off a cliff

Dragging down the rest of the company Sony's mobile unit posts a quarterly operating loss of $1.6 billion on $2.8 billion in revenue.

Sony chief Kazuo Hirai holding one of his company's smartphones. CBS Interactive

Sony had a particularly rough quarter, due in large part to its mobile business.

Sony overall generated $17.4 billion in revenue but posted a net loss of $1.2 billion during its fiscal second quarter, which ended September 30, Overall, revenue was up 7.2 percent compared with the same period last year, due in large part to the popularity of the company's PlayStation 4, Sony announced Friday.

The big story from Sony's earnings was its Mobile Communications business. During the period, the unit saw revenue rise 1.2 percent year over year to $2.8 billion, but slid to a $1.6 billion operating loss. That division effectively wiped out all of the success Sony saw elsewhere during the quarter.

Chief among Sony's successes during the fiscal second quarter was Sony's Game and Network Services division, which posted revenue of $2.8 billion and operating income of $200 million. Sales were up 83 percent compared with the prior year, due in main part to PlayStation 4 hardware sales.

Sony's Home Entertainment and Sound business also had a strong quarter, with revenue totaling $2.6 billion and operating income hitting $73 million. Sony Devices, which includes semiconductors, batteries, recording media, posted an operating income of $271 million on $2.3 billion in sales.

Overall, it appears Sony's mobile division has become the sore spot in an otherwise growing company. That's perhaps why Sony announced earlier this week that the chief of Mobile Communications, Kunimasa Suzuki, will be replaced in mid-November by the company's current senior vice president of corporate planning and new business creation, Hiroki Totoki

Looking ahead, Sony isn't expecting its entire business to turn around quickly. At the end of its fiscal year in March, the company expects to post an annual loss of about $2.1 billion.

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