The Associated Press recently reported that Sony saw a firm increase in its profits over the October-December quarter. Defined by the sales-intensive holiday season, it is perhaps one of the best measures of a company's strength.

Sony experienced a major switch last year, enstating its first foreign-born CEO, Howard Stringer. Though there was initially some worry surrounding his abilities, Stringer cites Sony's holiday profits as a sign of his and the company's forward progress.

The 17.8% increase in profits comes as a boon for the company which has been flailing in recent years. Analysts have speculated that Sony's major problem is its reliance on past domination of the electronics market: the once-standard Walkman has been surpassed by the iPod and other companies within the television manufacturing industry have capitalized on the firm's CRT reliance.

However, the Playstation label remains strong, especially in terms of PSP sales. Sony shipped an estimated 6.22 million units worldwide last quarter and experienced a 48% rise in profits for their video game section over the same period last year.

Though Stringer is clearly attempting to turn things around in other areas of the company (they will no longer manufacture Aibos and some jobs will be cut, for example), the company will likely need to hit a grand slam with their new technology triple-play (the "Cell" processor, the Blu-Ray media format, and the Playstation 3) in order to remain in the black for the coming fiscal year.

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