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Sony to allow VAIO laptops to be made by third-party manufacturers

Sony has announced a new 2-tier system for their VAIO lineup in which 3rd-party manufacturers will be allowed to design and produce notebooks under the VAIO name.

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When it comes to VAIO laptops, Sony has always taken pride in the fact that their notebooks are fully built and designed in-house, but that looks set to change now that the Japanese electronics giant has announced a new policy for its notebooks.

Under the 2-tier system, Sony’s VAIO notebooks will be split into two divisions, namely “division one”, in which Sony will still design and build the notebooks which fall under this category, and a “division two” in which design and production will be handled by Sony’s partners and third-party manufacturers.

Ryosuke Akahane, deputy president of Sony VAIO’s Business Group made the announcement in an interview with PC Pro, saying that such a move was necessary in order to survive in the market.

“We need a certain market share,” he said. “And if we don’t have a certain market share, it’s tough to survive.”

However, he also assured customers that regardless of the tier system and the decision to outsource part of its production, the quality that the VAIO name has become associated with will not diminish in any way. “The quality criteria itself is no different between division number one and division number two,” he said.

He also added that that the “division two” laptops will still bear Sony’s name, and that the company will have to “approve of all third-party designs” so that the notebooks will still have the same ‘taste and style’ of the VAIO brand. Instead, the only difference separating division one and division two VAIOs will be the technology behind it.

“We will include new technology [such as the latest processors] in division number one first, and then we can learn and we can get the know-how, then we can transfer [the technology] to the products coming from division two,” he said.

However, unlike laptop makers like Dell and Acer which have distinctive brands for various product ranges, Akahane insisted that Sony would not go down that path with its notebooks.

“Making a new brand is an investment, it’s not efficient, and also for the customer we wanted to enhance the identity of VAIO more and more and for that having a different brand is not good,” he said.

Source: PC Pro

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