* Sees Google-Motorola deal as legal protection for Android
* Presents itself at trade fair as part of Sony family
By Tarmo Virki
BERLIN, Sept 1 Smartphone vendor Sony Ericsson
(6758.T) (ERICb.ST) said it saw Google's (GOOG.O) acquisition of
rival Motorola Mobility (MMI.N) as a move to protect Google's
Android software from legal attacks by rivals.
All the latest Sony Ericsson smartphone models use Google's
Android software and it is one of the top vendors on the
Google and handset makers using the platform have been under
numerous legal challenges from Apple (AAPL.O), Microsoft
(MSFT.O) and others.[ID:nLDE76B0D9]
Apple has also seen the first court-room success in its
attempts to block Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) from selling
some of its Android devices.
"It is important for us to protect the Android ecosystem,"
Nikolaus Scheurer, head of product marketing at Sony Ericsson
said in an interview.
Last month Google unveiled its biggest deal ever, acquiring
Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, launching it into a
lower-margin manufacturing business and pitting it against many
of the 38 other handset companies that now use Google's Android
The move has raised fears that some top Android vendors like
Sony Ericsson could seek other platforms for their smartphones.
"Google confirmed that this is not making Google a hardware
manufacturer. I assume the global marketshare of Motorola is
somewhere around 15 percent in Android. I think everybody would
agree that it does not really make sense to jeopardise 85
percent of your business," Scheurer said.
Sony Ericsson has held on to its option of using Microsoft's
Windows Phone platform, but has not rolled out a new Microsoft
model for several quarters.
ONE SONY FAMILY
Sony Ericsson's smartphones were showcased at the IFA trade
fair in Berlin inside the Sony hall, mixed with Sony's TV sets
and new tablets. [ID:nN1E77U0KO]
"We showcase ourselves to consumers as one Sony family,"
When asked whether Sony's entrance to tablets meant Sony
Ericsson would not enter the new market, Scheurer said: "Right
now we are concentrating on smartphones."
The venture -- which hopes to benefit from close links to
Sony brands -- will also launch Sony's music and video services
to its consumers over coming weeks. It has gained from the
popularity of Sony's Walkman and Cybershot brands over years,
and earlier this year rolled out PlayStation phone Xperia Play.
"We really want to differentiate on top of Android. A lot of
our differentiation will come from Sony," Scheurer said.
Many analysts say Sony needs to assert control over Sony
Ericsson if the venture is to recoup market share in the
cut-throat world of smartphones.[ID:nLDE74N0FB]
The company has struggled with shrinking sales -- stemming
from its late push into smartphones -- but Scheurer shrugged off
some analysts' concerns that sales at the venture have shrunk so
much that large operators could opt to work with others.
"I don't see that hampering us," he said.
(Additional reporting by Nadine Schimroszik; Editing by Elaine
((email@example.com)(+358 40840 6235))
Keywords: SONY ERICSSON/
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