Sony to exit PC-use optical drives, say reports

Sony is getting out the optical disk business as it tries to restructure and shift to businesses that are more relevant to current device trends.

A Sony internal DVDRW drive. Sony is getting out of the PC-use optical drive business, according to Japan-based reports.
A Sony internal DVDRW drive. Sony is getting out of the PC-use optical drive business, according to Japan-based reports. TigerDirect

Sony will exit the business of making optical drives for PCs, another sign that traditional PC design is fading.

Japan-based Sony is getting out of the optical disk business as part of its restructuring effort, according to a Japanese-language report in the Asahi Shimbun.

A similar report appeared in Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun.

About 400 people, both domestic and overseas, will be offered early retirement, the reports said, adding that the move is coming in the wake of a $312 million net loss posted earlier this month.

Sony is aiming to close its Sony Opitarc optical disk division by March of next year.

Traditional PC design is under assault from tablets and a new wave of ultrabook laptops that are too thin to accommodate an optical drive and typically eschew standard spinning hard disk drives in favor of solid-state drives.

And this trend is expected to accelerate with Windows 8, when companies like Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and even Sony introduce tablet-laptop hybrids that are a departure from traditional PC designs.

When contacted by CNET, a Sony corporate communications representative in Tokyo said the reports are "basically correct," adding that Sony Optiarc in Japan employs about 90 people, while there are around 330 employees in overseas affiliates.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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