Sony is reportedly thinking about the possibility of buying out Ericsson's stake in its joint mobile phone venture, but not everyone agrees it's a good idea. Currently, Sony's place in the mobile hardware marketplace comes in its affiliation with Sony Ericsson, a quasi division within Sony, but one that it shares with a completely autonomous company called Ericsson.
Sony is quickly expanding its presence in the mobile world thanks to new initiatives like launching Playstation games on Android and working very closely with Ericsson to develop special gaming handsets.
But it is still limited in what it can do, since Sony Ericsson functions almost as a completely different entity. You will not hear people in the Sony board room talk about what Sony Ericsson should do, since Sony corporate has little involvement in what its mobile company actually does.
That could change, though. According to the Wall Street Journal, Sony wants to buy out Ericsson's stake in Sony Ericsson and fully embed all the intellectual property there into the Sony family.
That means it would be much easier to launch mobile products with Sony branding and Sony integration, making it a potential competitor to the Windows Phone brand.
Sony Ericsson recently stated that it believes Android is superior to Windows Phone and there is likely to be no or very few Windows Phone-powered Sony or Sony Ericsson products any time soon.
After the report came out, shares of Sony fell in Tokyo, but it's impossible to know if that's an actual causal link. Clearly, Sony is getting more focused on mobile and this move would be healthy for it to develop serious branding strategies in that space.