Ina Fried

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Sony Ericsson Says Quake Aftermath Will Continue to Cloud Component Picture

Sony Ericsson executives said Tuesday that they expect the lingering effects of the March 11 Japan earthquake to affect the company for the next several quarters, though they said the impact is hard to quantify.

Because it came late in the last quarter, the company said, the business impact on that period’s financial results was minimal.

“The impact on Q2 and beyond remains uncertain,” Bill Glasier, the company’s chief financial officer, said on a conference call following the company’s earnings report.

Among the components most affected by the quake were camera modules, batteries and displays, Sony Ericsson said. The company said it is working with suppliers to move to areas not impacted by the quake and, where necessary, to add secondary component suppliers.

Sony Ericsson has been working to boost its share of the global phone market by focusing on Android-based smartphones, but said that sales growth could be hampered by the quake.

The company has about 11 percent of the total Android market globally, but has a very small share in North America–a key smartphone market. Further growth depends on improving its fortunes here, CEO Bert Nordberg reiterated on the conference call. At the same time, Nordberg said that rebuilding the U.S. position must be done step by step with committed carriers as opposed to building a bunch of devices and hoping they will sell.

Verizon is due to launch the company’s Xperia Play–the so-called PlayStation Phone–sometime this spring. Sony Ericsson didn’t give any further details on the timing.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work