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Sony Ericsson: 'We dropped the ball on iPhone'

No, really? Good god

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Sony Ericsson's CEO has admitted the company should have cottoned on earlier to the iPhone's success, though as he wasn't in the chair at the time it's not his fault.

Talking to the Wall Street Journal, current CEO Bert Nordberg admits the company should have taken the iPhone more seriously back in 2007, although the same could be said for just about every other phone manufacturer. More interestingly he confirms SE's decision to stick with Android and defends the company's plummeting market share.

Sony Ericsson didn't make money last year, but reckons that it would have done if the Japanese earthquake hadn't hit so hard, despite the fact that the company's share of the mobile handset industry has been falling fast.

That's not a problem, according to Nordberg, as the retraction is from the feature phone space where SE doesn't want to play any more anyway. "We have given up the feature-phone business and are not comparable to the large players like Nokia anymore," he told the WSJ during the interview.

SE was, at one point, in the frame to buy Motorola's handset division, which eventually got subsumed into Google, and when questioned about that the CEO explained that SE just didn't have the cash to get involved in an acquisition of that size.

Which is a shame as Motorola has a surprisingly enduring hold on the US market, while SE can't seem to make much progress. "We have underestimated how fast we would be able to penetrate the US market. We are a very tiny player in the US," admits the CEO, explaining that more deals with operators and a broader portfolio are in the works to address that.

But that portfolio will remain Android-based, as even Windows Phone isn't up to the mark according to SE's CEO: "I wouldn't feel comfortable investing in a platform that isn't as good as the one that we currently use". So Windows Phone is on the radar but not something worth moving towards just yet.

Sony Ericsson's Android strategy is serving it well, and it has some nice handsets coming out, but it needs to turn a profit next year to demonstrate that it was just the earthquake that knocked it back this time around. Missing the iPhone is something just about every company did, and nothing worth beating up your predecessor over. ®

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