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Sony Businesses Cellphones

Sony In Talks To Buy Ericsson Out of Phone Venture 61

Posted by Soulskill
from the shrinking-slice-of-the-pie dept.
PolygamousRanchKid sends in this excerpt from a Reuters report: "Sony Corp is in talks to buy out Ericsson's stake in their mobile phone joint venture, a source said, in a bid to catch up with rivals. The move could help Sony recoup ground in the battle against Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics, where it has been hampered by its disparate offerings of mobile gadgets and online content. The joint venture, formed in 2001, thrived after its breakthroughs with Walkman music phones and Cybershot cameraphones, both of which leveraged Sony's brands. But it lost out to bigger rivals Nokia and Samsung at the cheaper end of the market, and was late to react to Apple's entry into the high-end of the market. It has refocused its business to make smartphones using Google's Android platform, but has dropped to No. 9 in global cellphone rankings from No. 4 just a few years ago."
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Sony In Talks To Buy Ericsson Out of Phone Venture

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  • Too late? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bsharitt (580506) <(moc.ttirahs) (ta) (nodnarb)> on Friday October 07, 2011 @09:08AM (#37637836) Homepage Journal

    I wonder if this is just a bit too late. It seems that Samsung has surpassed Sony as the everywhere premium electronics brand Sony was in the 90's.

    • I wonder if this is just a bit too late. It seems that Samsung has surpassed Sony as the everywhere premium electronics brand Sony was in the 90's.

      All it would take to fix that is a series of good and popular products. Sony has a decent brand, good distribution and talented engineers so it's certainly possible. While I'm not optimistic about their prospects, I certainly think it is premature to count them out entirely.

      My personal take on Sony is that they have good hardware engineers but are not so great at software. This has become a bigger problem over time. They also have a tendency to try to lock in people with proprietary technology even when

      • by Imbrondir (2367812) on Friday October 07, 2011 @11:04AM (#37638950)

        They have extremely talented engineers. Their problem is that they are ruled by their content divisions for some reason. I believe they'd have to either sell Sony BMG and Sony pictures, OR get them under control and give their engineers room to make what consumers want.

        This weird situation was well showcased when the x360 got content from Sony Pictures before the PS3.

    • by yog (19073) *

      Possibly too late, but I for one would love to see Sony come out with a state of the art, awesome Android handset to challenge Samsung and HTC. Why not? In decades past, Sony offered innovative yet affordable gear across the spectrum. We need more top players in the Android arena, to keep pushing the platform--not just phones but handheld tablets and other devices. There's plenty of room in this market for a solid engineering giant like Sony to jump in.

  • SE's return (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zouden (232738) on Friday October 07, 2011 @09:15AM (#37637896)

    It'll be interesting to see Sony-Ericsson return to the market. I remember when they were a big player alongside Nokia, Motorola and Samsung, but things are completely different in the post-iPhone (ie, Android) world. With Nokia out of the picture, and Motorola focusing almost entirely on the US market (even more than usual), it's really just Samsung and HTC. Both have done extremely well with Android. Sony-Ericsson, if they can move beyond the lackluster Xperia range, can bring a lot more diversity to the Android system.

    I still won't buy one, you know, because it's Sony. But I welcome the competition.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      For what it's worth, SE's decline started much earlier then smartphone age came, and most of its decline has been due to losing market to nokia.

      In current smartphone age, their failure to properly update their older phones, and being slightly behind the curve of samsung et al all but buried them.

  • Sony, No! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday October 07, 2011 @09:27AM (#37637996) Homepage Journal

    Sony can burn in hell.

    At some point, consumers have to develop the discipline to exercise their only leverage and let corporations know that there are certain things that will not be tolerated.

    Sony is by no means the only one on the list, or even the worst, but they've earned their way onto my pay-no-mind list.

    The Sony portable minidisc recorder I bought at a garage sale some years ago for $5 in order to cannibalize the AD/DA converters was the last Sony product I will ever buy.

  • Fat Chance (Score:2, Troll)

    by shoehornjob (1632387)
    After the rootkit issue I swore off all Sony products. It's a shame because they do make some decent hardware but they still need to embrace open standards and generate some trust by doing some good deeds before I buy any of their products again.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I had a couple Sony-Ericson phones before my current Droid-Incredible... They have made really great hardware but between the crappy software and there conflict of interests when it comes to content (attempts at lock down hurting the customer) there is no confidence that anything they make will be a good product. There are a few products that still do well but a lot of it seems overpriced. The major reason I did not get another phone from them was the lagging Android version number that they were usin

  • End of an era (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ArhcAngel (247594) on Friday October 07, 2011 @09:42AM (#37638118)
    Google announced it is buying Motorola's mobile division in August and now Sony is going to swallow Ericsson mobile. I remember when "car" phones first came out those were about the only choices you had. How long until Microsoft buys Nokia?
  • They'll have to do something pretty drastic. IME, quality hasn't dropped since Sony entered the joint venture - it's plummeted. Tacky nasty plastics are the order of the day across much of the range, yet I'm not convinced they have a huge price advantage except at the very low end.

    • by Maquis196 (535256)

      I agree, the old plain Ericsson phones were solid imho. The R320 is still one of my favourite phones due to how solid it was, the T28 before it was the popular highend phone (whilst Nokia seemed to hold the low end with the 6210 or something?).

      With Microsoft owning Nokia in all but name and Ericsson being taken out by Sony... the two big European phone operators are no longer. Sad day for me.

    • by operagost (62405)
      Besides the design, the last time I held a Sony Ericsson phone in my hand, I couldn't figure out how to use the horrible interface.
      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        No offence, but this is slashdot. Complaining about general or specific parts of interface's usability is one thing. "Not being able to use it" is something that a grandmother who never saw anything but a rotary dialler could realistically say.

        If a slashdot visitor can't figure out a mainstream phone manufacturer's interface enough to use it, it's time to reconsider sites you visit. Or at least telling everyone on the sites you visit just how helpless you are at things that site talks about. Or just quit wi

      • by Pope (17780)

        Funny, my first 2 cell phones were Sony Ericssons, and I found the interface a hell of a lot better than my friends' Motorolas. YMMV I suppose.

    • That's interesting. My S-E Cybershot k790i has taken a shitkicking including falling out of my bike pack on the commute home (without a case) as well as survived all the abuse my 2 year old has been able to muster. Sure, there are scratches and broken edges but everything still works. By far the best phone I've had to date.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe then, Sony will cease its demise? Right now, they are probably the most hated consumer electronic company, and those that are hating are putting off potential customers when asked about what new gear to get.

  • Is Ericsson preventing Sony from making decent phones? Is Ericsson the reason why SE phones are so shitty? Looking at Sony's other offerings, I suspect Sony has itself to blame for SE losing out to Nokia, Samsung and Apple. Sony has a long and inglorious history of making proprietary crap. Consumers don't want your slow buggy custom Android crap. HTC, Samsung and Motorola have all gotten a chance to become Google partners via Nexus and Xoom, except for Sony.

    • Is Ericsson preventing Sony from making decent phones? Is Ericsson the reason why SE phones are so shitty?

      Sony is more than capable of turning the product into utter crap without any help from Ericsson. Examples:

      • They DRM the USB charging capability (!!). On some newer S/E phones, if you plug in the USB cable to charge the phone and the phone doesn't detect a S/E driver for Windows at the other end of the link, it refuses to charge.
      • Buggy, system-infesting bloatware to talk to the phone. It's so bad that in some cases S/E tech support have been recommending to callers that they use freeware alternatives ra
  • Assume that Sony buys out the stake from Erricson. What becomes left of Erricson? Does Erricson make anything else?

    • by Mindjiver (71)

      They are #1 in wireless access (CDMA, GSM, WCDMA, LTE) and global services for operators. Main competition is Huawei, Nokia-Siemens Networks, Alcaltel Lucent.

      • by aliquis (678370)

        "Main competition is Huawei .."

        Funny thing with that is that I read how they did some project together / whatever (in the end the point is leaked information / helped) with Huawei back than they was just 1:18 as big as Ericsson. Probably felt safe back then, now they are almost as big.

        Stupid.

        Another funny thing is that the first international prestige order Huawei got came from Swedish Banverket (the railway network)... Which was most likely used as a merit and reference in the future by Huawei I suppose.

        He

    • If [wikipedia.org] only there was some way that you could look up that information yourself...
    • Assume that Sony buys out the stake from Erricson. What becomes left of Erricson? Does Erricson make anything else?

      Telephony switches. DECT phones + a whole lot more.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sony has been completely out played by Apple on what really 10 years ago people would have thought was Sony's natural market.

    In the 90's Sony was the premium portable music brand, built on the walkman and diversified through the discmans and introduction of the technology in the minidisc. They totally missed the boat on the introduction and portable harddisk and flash memory based media players. What is most ironic is they pretty much had developed the key technologies for the minidisc in the early 90's, ma

  • They will drop the uncomfortable "Back" key inherited from Ericsson?
  • by X86Daddy (446356) on Friday October 07, 2011 @11:35AM (#37639448) Journal

    I loved my Ericsson phones. After Sony got involved, things got better in some regards, worse in others. Sony's insistence on pricey, proprietary memory when the world had moved to MicroSD. Sony's ongoing war against OS customizers, debranders, etc... made Apple look benevolent. Still, they made some lovely hardware here and there. I owned the K750i, which was the "best phone ever" for a few years. It was my first daily-carry cameraphone that performed like an acceptable point-n-shoot. They had the best Bluetooth stack. And when it came to U.S. customers... they completely dropped the ball. I blame the FCC for granting stupid, unique frequencies and preventing global competition, but Sony often planned to release new models to the U.S. and then usually pushed back those releases by a year or more. By the time the C905a was finally released, I had already left the brand for good.

    Sony has conflicts of interest. Their "intellectual property" nonsense arm of the business has destroyed their consumer products division. Rootkits on audio CDs, Playstation fiascos every few months, harrassing Aibo software developers... The phone problems are more subtle, but annoy the enthusiastic customers. They have lacked vision and deliver a lot of "almost flagship" phones and very few "best of everything" models. The deal should be the other way around. I want to see Ericsson make phones without Sony mismanagement. Alternately, I want Sony to prove me wrong and get their house in order and release compelling new phones. How about a Qwerty slider, high resolution, Android phone with an amazing camera and well placed tactile media and camera controls? Nobody does that; SE phones used to have a unique corner on good interface; I'd love to see it happen again.

  • Just look at these threads and see how Sony is pissing off its customers:

    http://talk.sonyericsson.com/thread/23778 [sonyericsson.com]

    http://talk.sonyericsson.com/thread/22121 [sonyericsson.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm still pissed at Sony for all of their draconian crap of the last several decades. Making devices that are more proprietary than anything else, rootkits, disabling functionality in products, and last but certainly not least George Hotz. Sonys track record has been crap. Eriksson sells good stuff, and they don't screw with their customers. Sonys stuff doesn't plug into anything but sony, and they constantly screw with customers. If Eriksson bought sony, I wouldn't mind, but the other way? NO! I won

  • "and was late to react to Apple's entry into the high-end of the market"

    The P800, P900, and P910 [wikipedia.org] phones were all very solid in the high end market (the model number is how much they cost...) back in 2003-2004. However, the severely lagging SymbianOS held them back in terms of all the fancy stuff Apple did with the iPhone in 2007. You had to use a stylus with SonyEricsson or the interface would get confused.

    For me, being an American, the biggest failure with the P900 was not having 850mhz support from the st

  • I used to own a Ericsson GH388. This phone came out in 1995. Those phones could be dropped 5 meters. You could hammer nails with them. The Sony Ericsson phones I have seen are all crappy plastic fantastic garbage that fails if you give them the wrong look. I really miss the _solid_ Ericsson phones, it is possible to make Android phones with metal not plastic.

    Now, something different. A friend wanted me to configure SIP on a Sony Ericsson phone. The phone did support SIP, but ONLY "provider SIP". The phone

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