Sony says goodbye to Ericsson

The two companies have been making mobile phones jointly for over 10 years, but in the very near future, Sony Ericsson will simply become Sony.

This isn't just a name change, it's a significant business deal. According to a statement delivered this morning, Sony has acquired Ericsson's 50% share in the mobile business, turning the company into a 'wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony'.

Not a cheap business deal either. Sony has confirmed that a 'cash consideration' of 1.05 billion is being paid to Ericsson for full control, which includes payment for 'ownership of five essential patent families'. The company obviously wants to get that part right in light of so many patent skirmishes in the courts over the last couple of years.

It's not just a branding exercise, it makes a lot of sense for Sony and Ericsson. As Sony points out, the partnership 10 years ago mixed Ericsson's knowledge in the field with Sony's product knowledge. It's had considerable success over those years too, becoming a key player in the mobile market. But the two companies now have different aims. Ericsson wants to focus on its wider telecoms business, while Sony is looking to integrate its handsets into its 'broad array of network-connected consumer electronics devices'. In short, it wants mobiles to work with the rest of its kit. Don't know about you, but we're getting the word 'PlayStation' here.

The deal is expected to be finalised in January 2012, subject to regulatory approvals. That could mean a new generation of smartphones from Sony not too long after that date. Exciting times for the electronics giant.

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