The partnership between Sony and Ericsson has always been a precarious one for consumers. While almost everyone knows the name Sony, few outside the tech industry recognize the Ericsson brand these days. With sales down and its foothold in the U.S. market almost nonexistent, Sony may finally be planning to exit the partnership that helped it establish a foothold in the mobile world 10 years ago. The WSJ reports that Sony has almost finalized a deal to buy out Ericsson’s 50 percent stake in their joint venture. Rumors of the deal come as Sony Ericsson’s market share stands at less than 3 percent of the market, far below the 9 percent it once held.
“The buyout allows Sony to move development in-house and better integrate other products like gaming into newer phones,” said Steven Nathasingh from U.S. technology research firm Vaxa Inc (via Reuters).
Though we aren’t sure what the situation might be with patents, assuming a deal can be worked out, it would make sense for Sony to abandon the Ericsson brand for its consumer phones. While the companies had some success leveraging the Walkman brand some years back, they have struggled to make an impact in the competitive Android smartphone market in recent years, despite having decent hardware. The Xperia Play is one of the latest phones to debut in the U.S. market and fail to make much impact. The phone, which has a full gamepad, may have done better under a Sony PlayStation branding, but as a Sony Ericsson device it seems to be floundering, though it may simply be a concept that isn’t resonating with users.
Do you think Sony would be better off on its own in the mobile market or should it stick with Ericsson?