Sony Ericsson's Nordberg dings Windows Phone, acknowledges U.S. difficulties

Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg said he does not think Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone platform is strong enough to adopt yet and that the handset maker is content with its strategy of relying on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system for smartphone growth.

"At this point I wouldn't feel comfortable investing in a platform that isn't as good as the one that we currently use," he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "Therefore we have remained with Android, but I am quite curious about Windows Phone."

Sony Ericsson has been trying to stage a comeback based around a range of Android phones under its Xperia brand, but has so far produced uneven results. The company's global handset market share has shrunk from 4.3 percent in the third quarter of 2009 to 1.7 percent in the second quarter this year, according to research firm Gartner.

Nordberg acknowledged that although the company has a goal of being the largest Android handset maker, its Android share is now at around 11 percent, and said a lack of U.S. growth is holding it back. "We have underestimated how fast we would be able to penetrate the U.S. market," he said. "We are a very tiny player in the U.S. Our PlayStation device, the Xperia Play, has been a path for us to establish a relationship with U.S. operators, and we managed to get deals with both Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T). Now we need to broaden our U.S. product portfolio."

Both Verizon and AT&T currently sell the Xperia Play, one of Sony Ericsson's flagship devices, for $50 with a two-year contract.

The Sony Ericsson chief also addressed why the company has not embraced LTE and dual-core processors in its phones as quickly as some its Android competitors, including HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) and Samsung. "We are quite careful throwing ourselves into new technology, simply because there is no guarantee that consumers will buy, just because we develop it," he said. "But it's safe to say that Sony Ericsson should have taken the iPhone more seriously when it arrived in 2007. However, our Android strategy has been successful and the best choice we could have made, considering the growth of the Android platform."

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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