As part of CEO Kazui Hirai’s plan to turn the company back into an efficient, profit-making machine, the company has chosen to shut down its Optiarc manufacturing arm. Optiarc Inc. was bought out by Sony in December 2008 as part of a deal that NEC would sell off its 45% stake in the drive company.
Before the departure of NEC, Optiarc drives were used in most laptops bearing the Vaio label and also found their way into other OEM brands as well. While technically capable, the drives that served desktop markets suffered many short-term failures as a result of improperly designed hardware, with many people choosing to rather opt for other brand names like LG and Samsung.
Landing on the European Optiarc webpage doesn’t show any warnings about the company’s announcement, which means that some consumers may buy into what’s left of the Sony drives without knowledge that support and firmware updates will be dropped completely by March 2013, according to Sony’s press release. Dissolving the Optiarch brand means that Sony will axe jobs of the 400-odd employees left at the company.
This follows the 1000-odd layoffs that the consumer products giant also announced last week, turfing out employees from the mobile division and moving all operations in Japan to the company’s headquarters in Tokyo. Sony Mobile was previous based in Sweden and produced the Xperia phones that recently took the company back up into the arms of Android supporters. It looks like the wheels are slowly turning at Sony and its only a matter of time before it returns to its former glory.