Sony Ericsson, responsible for recent Android-powered handsets like the Xperia Play as well as several other non-Android phones, is a joint venture that was formed back in 2001 in order to help both Sony and Swedish firm Ericsson create mobile devices. After 10 years of working together under the SE brand, though, it seems Sony may be interested in taking the reins of the business. According to "people familiar with the matter" speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Sony wants to buy out Ericsson's stake in the venture in order to better integrate its phones with its other products (like tablets and computers). Talks of such a deal have been on and off for years now, says the WSJ. It's not yet clear how much Sony could end up paying to take control of the business, although Ericsson's portion is believed to be worth between $1.3 billion and $1.7 billion.
If Sony is able to finally take full control of the SE venture, it would allow the company to oversee the entire phone-making process and, as the WSJ points out, use its experience in the technology sector to crank out new devices at a faster rate. There's also the fact that the Sony brand is one of the most well-known tech names around the world, including among folks that may not be the most technologically inclined. It'd be interesting to see what kind of effect straight-up Sony-branded phones would have on the market compared to Sony Ericsson-branded devices. Neither Sony nor Ericsson has commented on the possible deal.