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Sony Collaborates With Microsoft, Announces New Structure

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Sony Corporation’s (SNE - Free Report) unit, Sony Semiconductor Solutions, has collaborated with Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) to build solutions that make AI-powered smart cameras and video analytics easier to access and deploy for their mutual customers. The companies will embed Microsoft Azure AI capabilities on Sony’s vision sensor IMX500. The Japan-based company will create a smart camera managed app powered by Azure IoT and Cognitive Services that complement the IMX500 sensor and expands the capability of video analytics opportunities for enterprise customers.

The combination of Sony’s imaging and sensing technology with Microsoft’s cloud AI services will see a powerful platform in the smart camera market. This, in turn, will help the companies support the creativity of their partners and contribute to overcoming challenges in various industries. Sony and Microsoft will also work together to facilitate hands-on co-innovation with partners and enterprise customers in the areas of computer vision and video analytics as part of Microsoft’s AI & IoT Insider Labs program.

In another development, Sony has announced a number of changes to the Sony Group’s organizational structure to evolve individual businesses and leverage the diversity of its business portfolio. Effective Apr 1, 2021, the current Sony Corporation will change its name to Sony Group Corporation. With this launch, Sony Electronics Corporation, which currently operates the electronics business that is the origin of Sony’s business, will acquire the name Sony Corporation.

Sony is also making a tender offer for shares and other equity securities of Sony Financial Holdings (“SFH”), of which it currently owns about 65% stake, to make SFH a wholly-owned subsidiary. The company aims to achieve growth and strengthen governance within its financial services business while enhancing the corporate value of Sony Group. Together with these, the Sony Group’s executive structure will be optimized for the new Group’s management structure.

Of the Sony Group’s core businesses, Game & Network Services, Music, Pictures and Financial Services have established executive structures. The electronics businesses, including Imaging & Sensing Solutions, will establish optimal executive structures for each business. Sony Group Corporation’s executive team will be formed from the heads of key group headquarters functions and core Sony Group business companies.

Shares of Sony have rallied 22.7% compared with 14.4% growth of the industry in the past year.

Sony currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader sector are Turtle Beach Corporation (HEAR - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Plantronics, Inc. (PLT - Free Report) , carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Turtle Beach has a trailing four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 46.4%, on average.

Plantronics has a trailing four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 27.7%, on average. The company’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters.

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