Actually, this is Sony getting greater. Since they changed their CEO, there were many strategical changes, surrounding a major policy in focusing on what they are great at. These changes come with big layoffs, unfortunately.
Expect Sony to excel in video gaming consoles, digital imaging (TV+Cameras), mobile phones and notebooks. Just go back a few years and see how the Xperia lineup improved. I'm happy to consider them a viable purchase again.
Their stocks have risen by about 100% from December 2012 to today.
"Their stocks have risen by 100% in a year." is a shortsighted answer to a long term question that neglects to mention how far their stocks dipped in order to get that sharp increase or how it was ultimately achieved. Layoffs happen, but Sony in general brought themselves into the black by selling off many of their resources, including the TV screens that were one of the few products that actually had quality. Investors only care about the present, they just want to buy low and sell high and make as much as possible. They don't care if those results were achieved at cost to the company's future. Assets that are no longer there means less potential for future profits. I find Smedley's statements to be the usual two faced corporate talk. It hurt to see them go? How much does he get paid as President? Which would hurt him more, taking a working salary or letting those people go? I'm betting on the former.
Yes, I did intentionally not mention the fall before the rise. I did that because I believe the company is improving.
You are wrong though, when you say they dug their grave by selling resources. They got into the messy scenario they are trying to leave by having an overcumbersome structure, combined with fierce competition and even a natural disaster.
Also, they never sold their TV division. They did end a joint-venture with Samsung by selling the 50% stake. They did that because they felt they could achieve a more efficient product cycle and gain competitive advantage over their main adversary. Bravias are still coming up, new and improved.
I'm not going to speak for a guy I don't know about (Smeadley), but Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai has given up his bonus of over 1.5 milion USD, along with negotiating an average 40% pay cut to 40 of the top executives in the company:
They also sold the behemoth of a building they had in NY. So yes, I believe very much they are heading the right way, and layoffs are necessary when you come from a huge structure to something competitive. Ask Toyota.
SOE is pretty much an embarrassment of a company from San Diego. I am surprised Sony did not restructure the entity sooner. Their sole reason for existing was due to the success of being an early player in mmo gaming.
The big issue is the upper management of the company are failures at managing. If they want this company to have any hope of being successful again, they should be canning the upper management and replacing them with competent people. They have ignored their customer base, let marketing steer their development, and let go of talent in order to promote friends and ass kissers.