Like so many of its peers, Sony has been squeezed to the margins of the global smartphone market by the dominance of Samsung, Apple and low-cost Chinese manufacturers. Sony Mobile adopted its current name following the buyout in 2012 by Sony of what had previously been Sony Ericsson, a joint venture with the Swedish tech developer that had itself been formed a decade earlier. Combining Ericsson's technical excellence with Sony's expertise in consumer electronics, the business eventually established itself as one of the leaders in its market. A key element was the leverage provided by Sony's consumer branding, which caused sales to soar mid-decade. At its peak in 2007, Sony Ericsson was the world's 4th biggest handset manufacturer. However, competition from first BlackBerry, and then from iPhone and Android devices left a huge dent in Sony Ericsson's featurephone-led portfolio. The company's own Xperia smartphone, first introduced in 2008, struggled to keep up with the competition, and in 2010 it slipped out of the global top five manufacturers. In 2011, hoping to align its handsets more closely with Playstation and its other connected digital devices, Sony bought out Ericsson for almost €1.1bn. Yet there has been no lasting fix for the Sony Mobile brand's declining sales. During 2017 shipments fell to a new low of only 13.5m devices, or less than 1% market share. Sony Ericsson's revenues peaked in 2007 at €12.9bn; for fiscal 2017, Sony Mobile reported revenues of approx $6.4bn, and the latest in a series of large impairment charges resulted in an operating loss of almost $250m. Mitsuya Kishida became global president in 2018.
Capsule checked 30th November 2018
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