May 22, 6:13 AM EDT Newsletter Signup BusinessTechnologyWorldNationalMedia & CultureOpinionSportsLuxury Business By Leo Sun 05/22/19 AT 5:50 AM Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Sony (NYSE:SNE) recently announced a strategic partnership across the cloud gaming, AI, and semiconductor markets. The cloud gaming announcement attracted the most attention, since the two rivals seemingly joined forces to counter Alphabet’s Google Stadia.However, the AI and semiconductor partnership was also significant. Microsoft and Sony will jointly develop new image sensors for enterprise customers that will integrate Microsoft’s Azure AI technology into Sony’s chips. This deal could give Sony’s oft-overlooked semiconductor business a shot in the arm, while expanding Microsoft’s cloud business.How this deal helps SonySony’s semiconductors unit mainly sells image sensors for cameras and mobile devices. The business supplies image sensors for roughly half the smartphone market, and its major customers include Apple, Samsung, and Huawei.This business enables Sony to profit from the growth of the smartphone market even as its own Xperia phones control less than 1% of the global market. Rising demand for image sensors for multi-camera phones is offsetting declining sales of sensors for traditional cameras. The unit’s revenue rose 3% annually in 2018 and accounted for 10% of Sony’s top line.Sony expects its semiconductor revenue to rise 13% this year as smartphone makers buy more mobile image sensors and… Read full this story
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