Consumer brand Sony wants to sell its notebooks to large companies - a strategy which raised more than a few eyebrows when it was announced at its recent VIP Conference in Barcelona.
"We want to create a whole business solution around Vaio," explained Jonathan White, Sony product marketing manager.
Sony also used the conference to announce a bunch of new products and add-ons for existing products.
Figures from IT analyst Gartner show that while the desktop market remains stagnant, there is still money to be made in portable PCs, a focus on notebooks makes sense. But for Sony, with a reputation for consumer products, attempting to take on business giants like Toshiba and IBM, seems like an uphill battle.
To tempt business managers to choose its portables over those of its more established rivals, Sony is offering several models with dual boot to Windows XP Professional and Windows 2000, plus one low-end notebook with XP Pro, rather than Home, preinstalled.
Sony offers a similar range of corporate and consumer options as its competitors, but is not in a position to offer build-to-order systems. It has partnered with third parties to offer hard drive imaging and support and plans to provide a three-year onsite warranty to business customers, but this warranty so far only covers customers in a few European countries.
Despite these limitations, Sony believes that its reputation for high build quality and reliability will win it customers, according to White.