Sony Ericsson’s Strategy: Get Smart

Ten years ago, Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony Corp. and Swedish mobile-network vendor Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson put their mobile-phone units into a joint venture, creating Sony Ericsson in an effort to grab a profitable share of the booming global handset market.

It has been a bumpy ride. While the Swedish-Japanese hybrid enjoyed initial successes with its line of Walkman-branded music handsets and Cybershot camera phones, it has struggled to build major market share around the world, and, like rivals such as Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and Nokia Corp., has recently struggled to compete with Apple Inc. in the fast-growing smartphone market.

Sony Ericsson underwent a management shake-up two years ago, appointing Bert Nordberg, who previously headed Ericsson’s operations in Silicon Valley, as the company’s chief executive, replacing Sony’s Hediki “Dick” Komiyama. Mr. Nordberg made some radical decisions: He dropped the Symbian operating system, introduced a smartphone strategy using Google Inc.’s Android platform, and gave up Sony Ericsson’s presence in the low-end market.

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