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Report: Sony Approaching $1B+ Takeover Of Ericsson Mobile Joint Venture

In an effort to consolidate its mobile business with its increased focus on tablet computers and Android development, Sony may soon buy its way out of its joint venture with Ericsson.
As PlayStation maker Sony moves further into the world of connected devices, it may be finding its longstanding joint venture with mobile device maker Ericsson prohibitive to its operations. That is why, according to the Wall Street Journal, sources say that that the company may soon wrest full control over the 50-50 joint venture created over a decade ago. According to the report, Sony will try to integrate its smartphone operation with its portable game console, PC and tablet device units to save money and better synchronize its product development strategy. Such a move would bring Sony up to speed with companies such as Samsung and Apple, whose smartphone and tablet computer operations are already well integrated. According to analyst estimates, such a buyout -- which could include Ericsson's portfolio of patents -- could be valued at between roughly $1.3 and $1.7 billion. Earlier this year, Sony Ericsson launched the Xperia Play, a game-focused mobile phone carrying the PlayStation brand. According to the report's sources, Ericsson had been attempting a PlayStation phone "for years," while Sony executives "dragged their heels" over letting the division handle its valuable gaming brand. In addition to playing emulated titles from Sony's original PlayStation console, the Android-based system will also play games developed for the as-yet-released PlayStation Suite platform, which will also make its way on to Sony's upcoming Vita portable console. The system also plays original Android-based games, though these are not published under the "PlayStation" banner. Sony is set to launch two distinct tablet computers as part of a larger connected devices strategy, both of which will carry PlayStation branding.

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