updated 10:05 am EDT, Thu May 7, 2009
S Ericsson on X1 and PS Ph
Sony Ericsson chief Hideki Komiyama today said that his company had made several key mistakes that have contributed to the company's rapid decline in market share. Speaking to FT, the executive now says that the XPERIA X1, once intended as a flagship that would rival the iPhone, is one of these. The full touchscreen Windows Mobile phone was "a kind of experiment" and is no longer expected to carry Sony Ericsson's high-end phone business.
The company has also had to reverse course from the "bad bet" made by trying to focus its earlier smartphones on the Symbian derivative UIQ, which had little success and was eventually shut down as Sony Ericsson and fellow supporter Motorola abandoned it for other operating systems. Instead, Sony Ericsson plans to base most of its future smartphones on other platforms, including the Symbian-based Idou due later this year as well as future phones based on Android and Windows Mobile.
Komiyama further admitted that Sony Ericsson has had an extremely flawed product mix as a whole that he has had to adjust since he arrived in November 2007. Similar to Sony itself before Sir Howard Stringer's reorganization, Sony Ericsson's low-, mid- and high-end groups were acting largely in isolation and regularly ended up producing very functionally similar phones, few of which were either properly aimed at the budget or smartphone categories.
In a surprise statement, the CEO has additionally contradicted public denials of a PlayStation phone and said that, while nothing was public, a gaming-oriented phone based on the famous brand "could happen." Rumors have circulated of Sony wanting such a device but refusing to let Sony Ericsson produce it over worries about damaging the PlayStation name.
The joint venture's other half, Ericsson, has also said today that it might need to infuse Sony Ericsson with cash if it continues to face trouble and implies that Ericsson may want to exit the partnership, with chief Carl-Henric Svanberg describing Sony as a "logical buyer" to take up a share of the phone maker.