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Tech - Communications

 April 24, 2001
Ericsson And Sony To Create World Leader In Mobile Phones

 Ericsson and Sony Corporation (April 24) jointly announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the intention to create a new company that will incorporate their respective mobile phone businesses worldwide. The new company, to be named Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, will be equally owned by Ericsson and Sony and will draw upon Ericsson's leading expertise in telecommunications and Sony's leading expertise in consumer electronics products.

Expected to begin operations on October 1st this year, subject to completion of a definitive agreement and applicable regulatory requirements, the joint venture will be responsible for product research, design and development, as well as marketing sales, distribution and customer services. Ericsson and Sony, parents of the joint venture, will provide support to the new company, and foster closer cooperation with each other.

"By combining the complementary strengths of Ericsson and Sony, the new company is uniquely positioned to become a world leader in telecommunications, as the industry moves rapidly toward Mobile Internet," said Kurt Hellstrom, Ericsson President and CEO. "We are a perfect match. Sony brings vast experience in consumer electronics and entertainment - music, pictures and games - and Ericsson contributes with our mobile technology lead and the world's largest customer base among mobile operators. This is the ideal partnership for the growing market of 3G and Mobile Internet."

Sony Corporation President and Chief Operating Officer Kunitake Ando said "The mobile phone industry is fast moving toward multi-media broadband and poised to grow significantly in the years to come. Millions of customers will require mobile handsets that can handle rich content such as movies, pictures and games smoothly and effortlessly, regardless of their location. Our collaboration with Ericsson, the undisputed leader in the global telecommunications industry, holds significance for us in creating an ubiquitous value network that is always connected, on demand and interactive."

Global corporate management of the joint venture will be based in London and headed by Katsumi Ihara, Corporate Executive Vice President of Sony Corporation, who will be named President of the joint venture. Kurt Hellström, President and CEO of Ericsson, will be appointed Chairman of the Board. Jan Wareby, President of Ericsson's Consumer Products Division, will assume the role of Executive Vice President of the joint venture.

While respecting existing product lines under the Ericsson and Sony brands, the new company will create a new and powerful brand for its range of future products. Ericsson's existing manufacturing partners and Sony's production facilities will continue to manufacture current and future products worldwide. Ericsson's Mobile Technology Platform unit will remain as a separate organization and will supply state of the art technology to the new company.