A Sony Cyber-shot camera

Another recall in Sony’s picture

Stacey Vanek Smith Nov 24, 2006
A Sony Cyber-shot camera

BOB MOON: You might call today Bleak Friday if you worked for Sony. Early today, the electronics giant announced yet another recall. This time it’s their Cyber-shot digital camera. Evidently some models have a tendency to distort images. Some don’t actually take photos at all. As Marketplace’s Stacey Vanek Smith reports, this could be the start of a long, cold Christmas season for Sony.

STACEY VANEK-SMITH: As far as Sony’s concerned, problems with the Cyber-shot digital camera are just the latest glitch that stole Christmas. Retail consultant Howard Davidowitz says the timing couldn’t be worse.

HOWARD DAVIDOWITZ: The digital camera is the number one electronic gift item this year. You can’t blow something like that. And guess what? There’s lots of other people making great digital cameras. I think they’re going to lose business, and a lot of business.

Sony has already spent much of the year mired in product problems. The company’s electronics division had to recall nearly 10 million laptop batteries after they were found to burst into flames.

Not to mention Sony’s struggles to get its PlayStation 3 to stores fast enough. Many consumers prepared to shell out $500 for the unit were turned away.

ROB ENDERLE: It’s as if each business unit is doing its level best to do a little bit of extra damage to the brand.

That’s tech analyst Rob Enderle. He says hearing about all of these problems could cause consumers to shy away from Sony this holiday season.

ENDERLE: People avoiding the brand could do pretty ugly things to Sony. We’re looking at a company that could be in dire financial need as we approach the end of the year.

Sony recently lowered its annual profit forecast by more than a third, largely because of the battery recall. Retail consultant Davidowitz says the electronics giant is going to face an uphill battle to reestablish itself with consumers.

He predicts it could take at least a couple of years for Sony to turn things around.

In New York, I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

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