Sony Corporation’s Aibo: An Intelligent Decision?
(9 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
In November 2017, the chief executive officer of Sony Corporation was preparing to announce the company’s release of its rebooted robo-pup, the Aibo—a robot equipped with sensors and actuator technologies, and powered by artificial intelligence that allowed this virtual pet to behave like a real dog. Sony Corporation, the 70-year-old iconic Japanese manufacturing company, had diverse businesses. After significant restructuring since 1999 to address its financial troubles, the company was expected, in March 2018, to post a record operating profit for the first time in two decades. How did a virtual pet business, especially one that had already proved unviable in the past, fit into such a restructuring exercise? Was Sony Corporation's Aibo an intelligent decision?
This case is suitable for a general management or strategy course at the graduate or post-graduate level. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- understand diversification as a corporate strategy;
- distinguish between competitive strategy and corporate strategy for a diversifying company;
- analyze the conditions for diversification; and
- evaluate a corporate strategy of diversification.
Japan, Large, 2017
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