Sony forecasts record $6.4B loss as Samsung overtakes it in U.S. HDTV demand

The pressure is building on new Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai to shape up the electronics giant. The company announced this morning that it will see a record $6.4 billion loss for the 2012 fiscal year (which ended in March) due to a tax hit, double its past projected annual loss of $2.9 billion.

Rubbing salt into its wounds even further, a recent study by ABI Research has found that Samsung has toppled Sony when it comes to U.S. consumers looking to buy new HDTVs. 20 percent of consumers surveyed said they were eyeing Samsung televisions, while 19 percent were looking at Sony sets (down from 27 percent).

Sony reportedly plans to slash 10,000 jobs (6 percent of its work force) in an effort to regain profitability. Those planned cuts likely led to the sunnier side of today’s announcement, with the company forecasting an operating profit of $2.2 billion for the current year (ending March 2013).

It seems that this year will be a major transition period for Sony, as it tries to correct the mistakes of the past. The company tapped Kazuo Hirai as its new CEO back in February, who quickly laid out a plan to save Sony. Hirai unveiled his new One Sony restructuring last month, which aims to streamline the company’s innovation and focus it on gaming, mobile devices, and digital imaging.

It’s unclear how Sony will combat Samsung’s new lead in HDTVs, as the Korean company has focused heavily on creating quality displays and building the connected experience in its sets. Sony is looking to streamline its display efforts, but its Google TV partnership could lead to some interesting sets in the next year.

Sony missed out completely on the iPod era of portable music devices, so now it’s aiming to make up for lost time with a stronger lineup of smartphones, which it announced at the Mobile World Congress in February. Gaming is still a cash cow for the company, and it remains one of the better digital camera companies (I love my Sony NEX-5N), so the choice to emphasize its business around the company’s three hottest product categories seems wise.

Via Reuters; Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat