Što je novo na blogu?

Intervju sa Andreom Gaal, generalnom managericom Sony Ericssona za Centralnu Europu

Bilo bi ok da  necime prije pocastim svoje vjerne citatelje bloga. Stoga umjesto da prvo objavim ovaj intervju na mobile-place.info za koji je i radjen, odlucio sam ga prvo podjeliti s vama. Dobio sam priliku napraviti e-mail intervju sa gospodjom Andreom Gaal, novom generalnom managericom Sony Ericssona za Centralnu Europu. Pitao sam je o Sony Ericssonu, modelima te njezinom pogledu na hrvatsko trziste.
Obzirom da imam puno citatelja i van Hrvatske, intervju prenosim na engleskom jeziku a hrvatska varijanta ce biti dostupna na mobile-place.info.

1.Ms Gaal, first to thank you that you’ll answer some questions about Sony Ericsson for our readers. Can you explain how did you enter the world of mobile technology?

I have been working in the dynamic environment of the Telecom/Multimedia/IT industry for over 20 years. After my graduation at Karl-Franzens-University in Graz, I lectured at several British universities including Oxford University, University of London and The European Business School. I continued my professional career in the world of business joining the North American TelCo/IT Start-Up, Antenna Company, which was then bought by Andrew Corporation. I was responsible for business development as well as sales and marketing management in different geographical regions, e.g. Central & Eastern Europe, Russia and Asia Pacific. More than 10 years ago I joined SONY Digital Communications and was appointed to several key management positions in the field of mobile devices. Starting in 2001, Sony Ericsson was founded and we were building an exciting new brand and achieved top market positions in countries like Austria & Switzerland. As of 2009 I continued my career in our Canadian office in Toronto as General Manager, which was a very interesting opportunity both on the professional and the personal front. We could celebrate some fantastic successes when launching the first Sony Ericsson Xperia handset outselling the competition at the time of launch. In October 2010 I took over the leadership of the Central European Market Unit consisting of 11 markets. An exciting journey so far!

2. Your responsibility was extended to additional 5 countries in the region. Are you happy with position of Sony Ericsson in these countries and what are your plans for next year?

The Central European market unit is an exciting, complex mixture of different market stages, development levels and potentials. The leadership of a region with 85 million people is an exciting challenge, and my objective is to provide a decisive impetus to increase Sony Ericsson sales in Central Europe. I am excited about the business opportunities in Central Europe for Sony Ericsson – especially with the ongoing growth of Android in all the eleven markets we are responsible for.

3. When we talk about planning, we are interested to hear about your plans for Croatia?

We currently launched the new Xperia arc S and the new mini line with Xperia mini and mini pro, which we do expect to be a big hit during Christmas sales. We are also focusing on hit game titles on our XperiaTM PLAY like FIFA12, Battlefield, Minecraft, Need for Speed. It’s challenging to list all the titles, because, now we have a strong selection of games over 150 optimised titles for XperiaTM PLAY, which will be extended to even over 200 by the end of the year. So very cool stuff is coming from Sony Ericsson!

4. Are you satisfied with smartphones sales in Croatia?

According to our global corporate communication gudielines the company does not share individual sales figures or sales forecasts externally. We are going through an important period of time with several success. During the last one and half years we focused on building our new XPERIA smartphone brand in each and every market in CE. Looking at the KPI results, we did achieve very high awareness rates due to a strong

product portfolio with innovative unique features like Facebook Inside XperiaTM which offers customers an exciting, new social experience, by making Facebook immediately accessible from the most used areas of the phone such as the picture gallery, music player, phonebook and calendar. With XperiaTM PLAY we bring the world’s first smartphone with PlayStation certified gaming experience to the market.

5. Considering the fact that you have insight for the whole region, we’re interested which country in the region has the biggest percentage of Sony Ericsson smartphone models? (Xperia)

According to our global corporate communications guidelines, we are unfortunately not able to share individual sales figures or sales forecasts externally. All of our CE markets are well focused on smartphones, and customers are open for the new technology, so our task is to bring the best out of this opportunity and continue the success of the Xperia family into the future. We have had very succesful campaigns in Poland, Croatia, Hungary and Slovakia recently, and very encouraged by the consumer perception.

6. Sony Ericsson is reknowned as quality smartphone brand since first P models entered the market (we remember UIQ P800, P910 etc), today you have Xperia models. Do you consider Xperia smarthpone range the most successful for Sony Ericsson?

Yes, absolutely. The Xperia smartphone story started in March of 2010 with XperiaTM X10 as our first Android smartphone. In 2010 we expended the Xperia range with further new models like X8, X10 mini and X10 mini pro – all of them were very succesfull in all markets. In 2011 we introduced even more new Android smartphones like XperiaTM arc, XperiaTM PLAY, XperiaTM arc S, XperiaTM neo, XperiaTM neoV, XperiaTM mini and mini pro, XperiaTM active and ray.

7. What is Sony Ericsson strategy for social networks? We notice very good activity of local Sony Ericsson team on Facebook, how do you observe new media and do you plan any improvements on that field?

Our goal is to make communication entertaining, which meets our customer’s personal demands, and fosters a deeper relationship and loyalty level with them. Our whole strategy has been developed based on this principle. The feedback of the costumers show they appreciate our social media solutions. We’re really grateful for the opportunity to have a direct dialogue with our customers.

8. How do you comment on fact that all phones Sony Ericsson released during the last year were top Android smartphones, what about Windows Phone?

The Windows OS is currently not part of our smartphone portfolio. When our flagship phones have been launched – such as XperiaTM 10 and XperiaTM arc – they were top Android smartphones. Therefore we just introduced XperiaTM arc S with a 1,4Gz processor and a richer user interface to continue to offer very competitive smartphones in the mid high-end segments.

9. We have to mention finances as well. Sony Ericsson had some problems in the last quarter, mostly due to tragedy in Japan, but some “credit” also goes to competitors that are growing fast. On the other hand, it visible that Xperia range is growing. Are you happy with sales results for Central Europe?

Unfortunately CE market unit was also affected by the Japan tragedy, and we couldn’t ship as many phones as we wanted to. We successfully managed to transform Sony Ericsson as a smartphone vendor with Xperia products building continously on the Xperia brand. The recent success is the launch of XperiaTM arc across Central Europe. The design and the multimedia features including the best in class viewing experience delivered through the Reality Display powered by the Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine™. In the coming weeks we are even upgrading XperiaTM arc to XperiaTM arc S is featuring a faster processor, and provides an even richer user experience. We are sure this will also drive the continued success of the XperiaTM arc in all markets.

10. Who is your main competitor in Croatia? Nokia is present for a long time, but losing share, LG and Samsung have serious growth and HTC also got local office. How do you see Sony Ericsson’s position on relatively small market? (Croatia)

Of course we are aware of the increasing competition, and we believe, that we have a strong, outstanding portfolio to differentiate Sony Ericsson as a vendor providing the most entertaining smartphones packed with the latest Sony technologies, which only we can offer. It’s also important that our 2011 are built on the latest Android platform.

11. For the end, thank you for your answers, our readers would certainly like to know which Sony Ericsson model do you use? mobile-place.info team wishes you lots of success in your work and managing the region.

I am currently using XperiaTM arc S as my main device, but I am also testing and utilizing new handsets, that will be launched in future. As I travel a lot I like business related apps like the currency converter, which make my life easier. Due to the amazing array of cool applications it increases your efficiency immensely when travelling and if you do have to wait at the airport it is an amazing entertainment tool offering more than 200 cool games, my favourite jazz music in high quality and allows me to stay in touch with one click with Facebook friends or professionals on other social media. I also love to look at my photo gallery as the images that I like to take on my trips on the Mobile Bravia screen have an excellent resolution and quality (even in dark light conditions) and are easy to share both on my mobile phone and other devices in the Sony ecosystem like TV. It is a kind of Swiss knife that combines it all. Hence I cannot imagine leaving my house without my very favourite gadget!