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Sony In Talks To Buy Ericsson Out of Phone Venture

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the shrinking-slice-of-the-pie dept.

Sony 61

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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Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37637760)

better late than never, I always have a soft spot for sony ericsson brand, because they're elegant, however lately they are a bit late in new ventures, if this brings better phone at faster date, then so be it

Re:Good for them (3, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37637806)

I lost all respect for Sony after Sony Entertainment Group pushed the hardware teams into implementing DRM. I don't buy Sony anymore, nor do I recommend it to friends and family.

Re:Good for them (4, Informative)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37637834)

>>I lost all respect for Sony after Sony Entertainment Group pushed the hardware teams into implementing DRM. I don't buy Sony anymore, nor do I recommend it to friends and family.

What, it wasn't when they installed rootkits on your computers (that you wanted to listen to audio CDs on how dare you) or when they secretly added a "you can't sue us" clause to their PS3 EULA? Oh, and if you don't agree to the updated terms, you can't play any games online, use the internet browser, stream Netflix, or patch your single player games? Or when they decided to make every multiplayer game come with a code, meaning that used games will cost you an extra $10 to play online (paid to Sony) and that normal, non-used game buyers and sellers will be fucking annoyed by having to punch in a long code every time they buy a game?

The problem with boycotting Sony is that there's sooo many reasons to do so.

Re:Good for them (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638324)

Well the rootkit did it for me. I had several customers that ended up infected thanks to that douchebaggery, that damned thing punched a hole in security a mile wide and no AV at the time would detect it (since it was listed as copy protection and not malware) so malware writers could use that like the giant hole in security it was and come right on in. I swear for like a year and a half that damned thing would bite folks, because thousands of those rooted CDs ended up in grandma's collection or in a used CD rack somewhere. Real PITA.

So Sony can fuck right off. i'm happy with the phone I have and for dad's newest toy I'm waiting for those new Nokia WinPhones to come out so I can compare them to Android (anyone know of a good candybar phone that can be set to ONLY surf on WiFi? Data plans here really suck ass) and see which is easiest for someone who is clueless to work., One thing is for sure, and that is there will NEVER be another Sony product in my home! to steal a line from Mr Garrison "You go to hell Sony, you go to hell and you die!"

Re:Good for them (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638652)

Boycott Sony, bla bla bla.. I fell off that bandwagon a long time ago. It has yet to put any of the company officials into the poorhouse. And their well diversified investment portfolio will keep them in the pink for quite a while

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37641784)

Massive backlash and red ink from the PS3/CELL, being relegated to a minor player in the portable device market, anonymous taking down PSN. I would say the internet hate machine has done appreciable damage against Sony.

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645822)

Sony is asian, so they don't get pink [vagina], they get yellow [vagina]. Except for Tommy Mottola. He had jungle fever and was tapping Mariah Carey's sweet pussy, back when it was still sweet.

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37643678)

Sony didn't install the rootkit, it was SonyBMG, which was managed by BMG at the time.

Re:Good for them (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#37637858)

Same for me, I know it's a different part of the company, but as a whole I am none too fond of Sony.

Their BS isn't just limited to the PS3 either, I bought a copy of Casino Royale, and it wouldn't play in my BR player, turns out Sony added bad sectors to the DVD and these will cause some players to hang and not play the movie.
And they are doing the whole paranoid of piracy thing with their BR players too. When I was looking I found a Sony and LG with almost the exact same features, but the LG was more expensive. I went with the LG over the Sony since upon checking the file formats supported, the Sony would only support a select couple of formats which were themselves DRM encoded types, while the LG would support almost everything under the sun.

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645900)

Why when you own a Blu-ray player would you then purchase the DVD of a movie?

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37640666)

Yay for last year's model! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37637796)

Sweet! More phones running 1.6 or 2.1 like the rest of Sony's we-won't-update-it garbage.

Re:Yay for last year's model! (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37637860)

Apart from last year's budget models, all Sony Ericsson Android phones run Gingerbread. Their upgrades were very slow initially, but not anymore.

Re:Yay for last year's model! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37637916)

Sweet! More phones running 1.6 or 2.1 like the rest of Android we-won't-update-it garbage.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Yay for last year's model! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37640782)

Sony Ericsson were first, besides Google's Nexus model, with Gingerbread. They've also upgraded the X10, first launched with 1.6 and then to 2.1, to Gingerbread (2.3). Talk to your carrier if they're somehow not rolling out the updates.

Too late? (4, Insightful)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37637836)

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.

Not necessarily too late (2)

sjbe (173966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638658)

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 they've clearly lost the battle (betamax v VHA, minidisc v CD, SD vs Memory Stick, etc) which I think bites them. They have too much of a Not Invented Here syndrome. Worst of all they also have a built in conflict of interest between their content division and their equipment divisions. They try to lock down the content WAY too much. This makes their engineers essentially unable to provide the products people actually want.

Re:Not necessarily too late (4, Insightful)

Imbrondir (2367812) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not necessarily too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37656990)

I suggest the electrode treatment.

Re:Too late? (1)

yog (19073) | more than 2 years ago | (#37639734)

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.

Re:Too late? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646632)

I'd be afraid it might have a factory installed rootkit.

SE's return (4, Interesting)

Zouden (232738) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:SE's return (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37639754)

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! (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37637996)

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 (1, Troll)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638058)

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.

Re:Fat Chance (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37638570)

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 using: 1.6 when 2.1 was current and I had no expectation that they would update to 2.0 let alone get to v2.2.

I had a mini Disk player as well... hardware was great, software licked donkey balls only allowing burning a track 3 times and they converted it into there own format from an mp3 ... same reason I avoided iPods, content restricting bullshit of iTunes besides the horribly slow interface.

I will not be getting a Sony phone or anything else from them any time soon.

End of an era (3, Interesting)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:End of an era (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638724)

Rest assured that cross ownership in all areas is the rule, not the exception. There really is no 'competition'.

Re:End of an era (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37643412)

How long until Microsoft buys Nokia?

I'd say never. that's what makes so many Nokia people angry about the MS deal - MS got everything they wanted from Nokia without having to actually shell out real cash. Nokia (shareholders) got shortchanged. The deal for Nokia is high risk. MS is no-lose. And MS got it for cheap.

They'll have to do something pretty drastic (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638170)

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.

Re:They'll have to do something pretty drastic (1)

Maquis196 (535256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638300)

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.

Re:They'll have to do something pretty drastic (2)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638598)

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.

Re:They'll have to do something pretty drastic (0)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37640094)

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 with utterly daft hyperboles.

Re:They'll have to do something pretty drastic (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#37640678)

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.

Re:They'll have to do something pretty drastic (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37639966)

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.

Stop pissing off loyal customers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37638206)

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.

Not Friendly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37638224)

The only outcome can be another segment of phones that are less developer-friendly.

Why? Is Ericsson the reason why SE phones suck? (1)

jinushaun (397145) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638256)

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.

Re:Why? Is Ericsson the reason why SE phones suck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37638370)

From what I've seen of the code in the non-experia phones, yes.

Re:Why? Is Ericsson the reason why SE phones suck? (1)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645576)

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 rather than S/E's own product, which gives stuff like Nero and Acrobat a run for their money.
  • Crappy engineering. "Your camera has stopped working (relatively common on some models, e.g. K7xx series). That's easily fixed, just buy a new phone!".

The USB charging thing was the final straw for me, typical of Sony's fsck-the-customer attitude.

Ericcson? (1)

Wattos (2268108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638326)

Assume that Sony buys out the stake from Erricson. What becomes left of Erricson? Does Erricson make anything else?

Re:Ericcson? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37638380)

Assuming this is a real question, and you're not making fun of a typo in the summary: Ericsson is the world's largest manufacturer of telephony equipment, as in they make the cellphone towers rather than the phones themselves. If you know programming, Ericsson is also responsible for Erlang.

Re:Ericcson? (1)

Mindjiver (71) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638390)

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

Re:Ericcson? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646308)

"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.

Here in Sweden we use a bid process for those things. But I doubt the Chinese government would had picked Ericsson as the company to build their communication gear if they had a company such as Huawei doing the same thing within the country.

Re:Ericcson? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37638404)

Well, Ericsson used to make components and things for military applications but they sold off that division to Saab ages ago.
I guess that they still got all their other communication stuff left. Not much for the consumer market. Perhaps they have decided that the profit margins aren't big enough and have decided to focus on ISPs and governments as their customer base.

Re:Ericcson? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638414)

If [wikipedia.org] only there was some way that you could look up that information yourself...

Re:Ericcson? (1)

yourtallness (1183449) | more than 2 years ago | (#37638424)

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.

Re:Ericcson? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37638450)

Assume that Sony buys out the stake from Erricson. What becomes left of Erricson? Does Erricson make anything else?

Ericsson's main business is making phone switches and tower equipment for telecom companies. They bought most of Nortel's infrastructure business, too. Handsets were just a sideline.

Re:Ericcson? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37638558)

Yes. They're one of the top providers for network equipment.

Ouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37638610)

You can forget about that [slashdot.org] now.

FRIST psOT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37639010)

OUTER SPACE ThE [goat.cx]

The new millenium hasn't been good to Sony (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37639228)

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, mainly music file compression algorythms and hardware encoding and decoding in the music player. The only thing that was missing was to replace the magneto optical discs with a hard-drive. Instead other people did it and perfected it instead and Sony came late to the party.

Sony then started to fight back against the brand dominance of the Ipod, by pushing the walkman phone idea, where the flash media player is integrated into the phone. For the time they were good music player phones. And this is where Apple really excelled, they anticipated the shift away from separate ipod and phone to the combined item, and decided that their best strategy was to make their own phone, and managed to wipe the floor with Sony again.

Does that mean (1)

atisss (1661313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37639414)

They will drop the uncomfortable "Back" key inherited from Ericsson?

This will fail (2)

X86Daddy (446356) | more than 2 years ago | (#37639448)

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.

Let Sony Die! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37640270)

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't buy anything Sony ever again.

SonyEricsson P900 vs Apple iPhone (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 2 years ago | (#37640468)

"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 start. If they had had that and had pushed distribution to offer discounted, locked down versions with a data plan like Apple did, those things would've sold much better.

-l

I miss the solid Ericsson phones (1)

xiando (770382) | more than 2 years ago | (#37643478)

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 was locked so you could NOT configure it to use a SIP provider. It had to be pre-configured by the SIM card provider. What a load of crap!! Sony==DRM, lock-down, garbage.

That would be the end of that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37646782)

I have been a long time fan of Ericsson phones. The SonyEricsson merger was a good one, but a Sony phone was never even on the map of phones I would consider. I would probably become a Samsung or HTC phone owner if this happens.
Ericsson was the first company to introduce a great phonebook. I e a phonebook where you stored contacts instead of number-name pairs. Sony brought music features and when cameras became a hot item, SE had the best cameraphones. The only descent phones with a lenscover, you could slide out to go into camera mode.
And with the resent SE move to support the FreeXperia movement they suddenly did what Sony would never consider. Support the modding community.

lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37654174)

How long till Cyanogen be prosecuted?

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