Panasonic Corp., one of Japan’s traditional consumer electronics manufacturers, has apparently told its distribution partner NTT Docomo that it would stop supplying the Japanese mobile carrier with new smartphone models starting this winter, sources revealed. Panasonic revealed numbers which point to a sharp decrease in smartphone sales in the April to June period due in part to NTT Docomo’s marketing push to offer bigger consumer discounts for Sony and Samsung smartphones, the two most popular brands in the carrier’s smartphone catalog.
NTT Docomo, Japan’s largest mobile carrier by virtue of sales, has made it known this summer that it would be concentrating its marketing efforts on two very popular handsets – Sony’s Xperia A and Samsung’s Galaxy S4. This just won’t do for Panasonic’s heavily struggling smartphone business unit, as NTT Docomo has effectively been the biggest channel for the sales of Panasonic’s smartphones. The decision will mean that Panasonic will effectively stop developing new smartphone models, this according to reports. Panasonic said that smartphone production at its Malaysian factory will continue for the time being, but if NTT Docomo stops placing orders, the operation will soon be stopped as well. Panasonic’s smartphone segment booked an operating loss of 5.4 billion yen (around US$54.7 million) in the period from April to June.
Panasonic’s apparent demise in the smartphone industry follows quickly on the trail of the death of NEC’s smartphone business, another traditional Japanese consumer electronics firm succumbing to the stranglehold that Samsung and Apple have on the global smartphone market. NEC has officially announced in July this year that they will stop developing, manufacturing and selling smartphones. The company also reported losses of 21.5 billion yen (nearly US$22 million) in the second quarter of 2013, and just couldn’t keep up with the market.
[via Solar News]