Sony Ericsson, the decade-long joint venture between electronics giant Sony and Swedish telecom company Ericsson, may soon be no more. Sony is reportedly in talks to buy out Ericsson’s share in the venture, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and Reuters.
By doing so, Sony will be able to better integrate its phones into its lineup of tablets and portable game systems. Having full control over its mobile fate could help Sony immensely, as it has yet to develop a modern smartphone that has taken off with consumers.
The world’s sixth largest cellular phone manufacturer, Sony Ericsson is currently a 50:50 joint venture between the companies. The venture was responsible for some innovative cellphones, such as Walkmen-branded music phones and Cybershot camera phones. But, as Reuters points out, Nokia ended up dominating the market for lower-end phones, and Apple quickly made the iPhone the standard for all high-end smartphones.
Analysts estimate that it could cost Sony between $1.3 billion and $1.7 billion to snap up Ericsson’s share of the venture.
Sony’s obvious target in this deal is Apple, but it’s likely also seeking to wrest smartphone market share from Samsung and HTC, both of which found success as premiere Android phone makers (and which are also dabbling in Windows Phone). Sony Ericsson has already released several Android phones, including the recent gaming Xperia Play phone, but none of them have been a smashing success.