It hasn’t been the most harmonious of partnerships recently, despite the company getting off to a good start when they merged back in 2001, and talk of a Sony buyout of Ericsson has been circulating for a while. Today that sale has been confirmed, with Sony spending £964 million on 50% of the Swedish company to become the sole owners.
So what does this hefty amount buy them? For a start Sony now wholly owns Sony Ericsson and will integrate the company into its ‘network connected consumer electronics’ division, plus the sale includes five ‘essential patent families’ enabling them to continue building mobile phones, along with various other licenses.
Sony will continue to work with Ericsson on what they’re calling a ‘wireless connectivity initiative’, where they’ll explore and develop new networks in the global market.
That all sounds good for Sony, and to a certain extent, Ericsson too; but what about us as consumers? Sony say they want to add smartphones into their connected device range, which includes tablets, televisions and laptops, and enable customers to connect to other content wherever they are, whenever they like. This means we can expect their various streaming video services and of course, the PlayStation Network, to become a regular feature on their future phones.
The PlayStation approved Xperia Play phone has obviously proved to Sony that putting their most popular brands on other devices is still worthwhile, just like it was with the CyberShot and Walkman phones at the beginning of their partnership. We can expect to see a lot of similar branding efforts in the near future too.
Provided everything goes smoothly, the sale will be complete in January 2012. It’s not clear at this time whether Sony will drop the Ericsson name.