Sony refuses to allow Sony Ericsson the use of its PlayStation brand
Sony is understood to have refused to allow Sony Ericsson the use of its PlayStation brand, after the handset manufacturer presented a pitch to the board late last year. Sony Ericsson was planning to develop a PSP phone to capitalise on the growing success of the gaming sector, and after the success of Cyber-shot and Walkman handsets. Sources said the refusal to sanction the brand on the handsets in December has prompted a fallout between Sony and the mobile phone joint venture. Several sources close to the matter claimed Sony executives told colleagues at Sony Ericsson that it would only license the PlayStation brand if and when Sony makes handsets independently – effectively pushing for an exit from the joint venture with Ericsson. It has been claimed by Sony Ericsson that Sony will only allow the use of its brand if the experience on a proposed handset is sufficiently high enough and matches the experience of Sony’s standalone devices. A Sony Ericsson spokeswoman said the handset manufacturer ‘could not comment on what Sony has or hasn’t said’. She added: ‘In the past, we have been keen that our product proposition lives up to brand promise, and we feel at the moment the technical specs are not high enough to put such a prestigious brand on a phone.’ The handset manufacturer currently uses Sony’s Walkman and Cyber-shot brands on its phones and the Bravia TV brand is available on mobile phones in Japan only. The Sony Ericsson spokeswoman said the manufacturer is ‘continually reviewing’ launch plans and would look at Bravia and PlayStation ‘in the future’. The move comes at troubled times for Sony Ericsson, which is cutting costs as the economic slowdown bites. It will reveal realignment plans today (16 January), that will include a review of all of its operations. In the last quarter of 2008, Sony Ericsson put a push on reclaiming its customer debts, in a bid to claw back costs before the end of the year. It is understood that the manufacturer was offering incentives to operators for paying the outstanding debts.