updated 05:10 pm EST, Fri January 27, 2012
Sony free to pursue Sony-only branding
The European Union has approved Sony's acquisition of Ericsson's stake in their smartphone enterprise. The approval was granted on January 26 and gives the company the green light to forge ahead with its Sony-only smartphone branding, design and development. Sony announced it was moving to buyout Ericsson's holdings in late October at a cost of $1.4 billion.
At the time, Sony said that the new arrangement would help it more quickly integrate its mobile devices with its newly unified online entertainment services. The purchase also granted Sony access to what it called a wide-ranging cross-licensing and patent agreement giving it rights to "five essential patent families." The move also signaled Sony's intention to kill of its feature phone line, and focus solely on the development of its more profitable smartphone line.
Sony's CES 2012 exhibition still included a number of handsets carrying the joint-branding, although its keynote presentation and general company rhetoric focused on Sony-only branded devices that are in the immediate pipeline. Sony announced two forthcoming phones at CES, the Xperia S and the Xperia ion, which still carries the Sony Ericsson branding.