Sony annouonced it is taking over the Sony Ericsson mobile phone joint venture by buying out the remaining shares of the Swedish manufacturer for 1.05 billion euros. The handset maker will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corp. This move is seen as a play by Sony to take further unify its games and hardware with its handsets, which have been kept seperate since Sony’s 2001 takeover of Ericsson.

Sir Howard Stringer, Sony’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President explains, “We can more rapidly and more widely offer consumers smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions that seamlessly connect with one another and open up new worlds of online entertainment. This includes Sony’s own acclaimed network services, like the PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network.”

Decision making parties from both companies have agreed on the transaction, which is expected to close in January 2012. The transaction also provides Sony with a broad intellectual property cross-licensing agreement covering all products and services of Sony as well as ownership of five patent families relating to wireless handset technology.

With these patents in Sony’s control, they now have the tools to compete with Apple and Samsung. Last year Sony Ericsson took 2% of the global handset market so It will be interesting to see if Sony can execute properly to become a serious contender among smartphone manufacturers.

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