Ericsson/Sony plot new mobile phone brand

Ericsson and Sony Corporation are to create a new brand name for the mobile phones to be produced through their recently formed joint venture company.

The two companies have agreed to merge their handset businesses into a new company, to be called Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications. The company is to begin operating from October 1.

It is not clear whether the phones will carry the names of both companies or whether another brand name will be created. But it is likely that handsets individually branded as Ericsson and as Sony will be phased out.

Steve Walker, marketing director for Ericsson’s UK consumer products division, says: “It will be a new brand associated with the joint venture.”

The company will be responsible for product research, design and development, as well as marketing, sales, distribution and customer services. It will have its own ad budget.

It is not clear who will head marketing for the new company, which has its headquarters in London. Ericsson’s global marketing team for consumer products – which is responsible for its handsets business and headed by Philip Vanhoutte – is already based there.

The move comes less than a week after Ericsson announced 12,000 job cuts which included the closure of two factories in the UK following the poor performance of its handset business.

It not clear whether the job cuts will affect the 30-strong team responsible for sales, marketing and customer services relating to consumer products in the UK.

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