Sony is reportedly ready to buy out Ericsson in the Sony Ericsson joint venture and will take a stronger role in controlling its mobile future, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Sony Ericsson was created in 2001 as a 50-50 joint venture between Sony and the infrastructure giant Ericsson and it has had some moderate success, particularly in the feature phone department with its cool Walkman series. The company has been very slow to adjust to the smartphone world though, as even its CEO has said it should have taken the iPhone more seriously.
The buyout would give Sony full control of the mobile phone company, including the mobile patent portfolio and the move could cost up to $1.7 billion. The move would allow Sony to really dive into the fast-growing smartphone space with all of its efforts and it would allow the company to have a complete ecosystem.
Sony already offers televisions, laptops, the PlayStation lineup, tablets and a host of online services which can dole out music and media to users. While Sony Ericsson produced some decent smartphones, it was still a joint venture that never appeared to have the full strategic capabilities that it would as just being part of Sony.
The Xperia Play may exemplify that, as it seemed like a great idea when it was unveiled: a PlayStation phone that delivered a great smartphone experience but leveraged the PlayStation brand for gaming. It hasn’t seemed to resonated with consumers though and perhaps a larger direct push by Sony could have helped.
We’ll be following this story as it develops.
[Via The Wall Street Journal]