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Sony to spin off successful image sensor business

Sony has announced a restructuring of its devices division that underlines the success and importance of the company's image sensor operations. The devices segment is mainly comprised of Sony's storage, battery, and semiconductor businesses, but the latter of those — which is primarily focused on image sensors — is being spun off into a new company called Sony Semiconductor Solutions.

The divisions that currently handle semiconductor manufacturing and design, Sony Semiconductor Corporation and Sony LSI Design, will both become subsidiaries of the new company. Sony's storage media operations will fall under manufacturing arm Sony Storage Media and Devices Corporation, meanwhile, and the battery business will fall to Sony Energy Devices Corporation.

CEO Hirai continues to untangle Sony

Spinning off the sensor division doesn't mean it's going the way of VAIO; instead, the move is part of CEO Kaz Hirai's strategy to untangle Sony's businesses into more discrete, efficient components. Sony did the same thing with Bravia TVs last year, and the audio and video division started operating as a separate business entity at the start of this month.

In a statement today, Sony said the goal of these spin-offs is "to ensure clearly attributable accountability and responsibility from the perspective of shareholders, management policies with an emphasis on sustainable profit generation, and the acceleration of decision-making processes and reinforcement of business competitiveness."

Sony is the market leader in image sensors. Its chips are used in cameras including the company's well-regarded Alpha line and high-end Nikon DSLRs, and over recent years Sony sensors have powered smartphones from the likes of Apple, Xiaomi, and now Google's new Nexus devices. The devices segment has consistently been one of the brighter spots in Sony's earnings reports for some time, and now it'll be easier to see just how well the image sensor business is performing.