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Sony is moving forward with its long-rumored plans to buy out Ericsson from its joint mobile venture in a bid to wrangle control of its future smartphones.
The deal, worth some 1.05 billion euros (or $1.5 billion), is a significant move for Sony. By taking full control over its mobile outfit, Sony has the potential to develop even more innovative smartphones and tie all of its devices more smoothly into its content ecosystem. Basically, Sony is trying to become more like Apple.
“It’s the beginning of something which I think is quite magical,” Sony Chairman Howard Stringer said at a news conference in London this morning. “We can more rapidly and more widely offer consumers smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions that seamlessly connect with one another and open up new worlds of online entertainment.”
Previously, the development of Sony’s phones was handled separately from tablets and other devices.
Formerly the world’s sixth largest cellular phone manufacturer, Sony Ericsson was 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 Nokia ended up dominating the market for lower-end phones, and Apple quickly made the iPhone the standard for all high-end smartphones.
As analyst Pete Cunningham of Canalys tells Reuters, Japanese companies have historically had a difficult time taking over Western firms. He adds, though, that he “would not say it cannot be done.”