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Sony acquires Ericsson’s share of company

The mobile phone joint venture between technology companies Sony and Ericsson is no more.

Sony has bought Ericsson's share for an estimated €1.05 billion cash buyout, and includes the ownership of five essential patent families relating to wireless handset technology.

According to Sony, the past ten years in the mobile market has seen a shift in focus from simple mobile phones to smartphones that now include access to internet services and content.

"The transaction is a logical strategic step that takes into account the nature of this evolution and its impact on the marketplace," Sony announced in a statement (October 27).

According to independent news site Mashable, Sony says that acquiring all of Sony Ericsson will enhance its "four-screen strategy" – televisions, laptops, tablets and mobile phones – with the company not only intending to sell devices in all four categories, but also deliver PlayStation and
Sony Entertainment content to all.

The move is expected to see Sony move away from low-end feature phones and focus more on high-margin smartphones. During an address to the media, Sony's chief executive officer Sir
Howard Stringer suggested the brand will be keeping its options open, especially when it came to making other purchases – in particular, HP’s webOS.

“Never say never,” he said.

The joint venture commenced in 2001, with the focus of turning their unprofitable mobile handset divisions around, and this focus had turned to Android devices in recent years.

The announcement comes as Australian smartphone users are expected to hit 18.5 million by 2015, according to new data.

Analyst firm Telstye predicts that these types of 3G handsets will account for 90 per cent of all mobile phones used in Australia in the next four years.

Currently, smartphones make up 50 per cent of the market.

The Sony Ericsson deal is expected to be finalised by January 2012.