Handset maker Sony Ericsson may be parting ways with Sony and Ericsson going their own paths after having united in 2001. According to the Wall Street Journal, the two companies are holding talks with Sony potentially buying out Ericsson’s stake in the joint venture and taking control of the phone business in-house. However, nothing’s finalized yet, and there are still major problems to be ironed out before a full divorce can occur.
The Journal says that the major issue being debated here is how much Ericsson’s patents related to mobile technologies are worth. Analysts are estimating that Ericsson’s part in the joint venture is valued at $1.3 billion.
With Apple’s strong position in the mobile market, Sony is eager to leverage its internal technologies and brands to develop key mobile products. It is said that Sony had wanted to create a PlayStation-branded handset for a long time, but Sony executives didn’t want to cede control of the brand to the joint venture and split the profits. However, a decision was made late in the game and we now have the XPERIA Play as the first of such offerings.
Most recently, we’ve begun to see Sony Ericsson leverage Sony technologies, such as the mobile Bravia Engine and Sony imaging sensors on the company’s high-end XPERIA Android phones, like the Arc. That said, Sony is going solo with its tablet endeavors, opting to release its debut tablets under its own brand rather than with Sony Ericsson.
It’s unclear if Sony will keep the XPERIA brand from the joint venture’s Android lineup if it buys out Ericsson’s stake in the partnership, or if it will assign smartphones to an existing Sony product line or come up with an entirely new branding.