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Sony: Can't beat Apple and Samsung, so let's be the Other Guy

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Sony's head of mobile has said today that the company is aiming to be the third most loved smartphone maker over rivals like Huawei, ZTE and Motorola.

The Japanese firm has no illusions of being able to knock Apple or Samsung out of the top two spots, but it's hoping to at least get onto the podium for a bronze medal, Kunimasa Suzuki told reporters in Tokyo, according to Reuters and others.

Beancounters at IDC have Sony in fourth place as per the latest figures in January this year, which isn't too bad, with a market share of 4.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. The share doesn't sound so big, but it's not a big jump to overtake the current third-placed firm Huawei, which has just 4.9 per cent of the market.

IDC currently ranks Samsung and Apple streets ahead of that with 29 per cent and 21.8 per cent of the market respectively in the fourth quarter, though they have tended to switch top and second spot in the last year or so.

Sony is hoping that its acquisition of Ericsson's stake of their joint venture in 2011 will help propel it up the ranking with Sony-only branded mobes like the Xperia TL.

One way to add to its market share would be to bring out some cheaper models to gain traction in developing nations, a plan the company might go for, according to Suzuki.

As well as getting more out of mobes, Sony is on a mission to regain at least some of its previous high standing in electronics by focusing on mobile devices and revamping and streamlining the rest of its biz. The restructuring has included selling off office space, such as its billion-dollar Manhattan HQ, offloading shares in subsidiaries like medical market research firm M3 and trying to do teaser launches a la Apple.

The company said in a statement today that it was getting rid of all the shares it owns in Japanese online game firm DeNA, over 17 million of them, by selling them to Nomura Securities for a tidy ¥40.9bn ($437m).

"Sony has identified certain assets for possible sale as part of an initiative to transform its business portfolio and reorganise its assets. This sale was conducted as a part of that initiative," the firm said. ®

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