Background: I worked for an associated company for many years.
Good comments all. Having at first succeeded in the cellular “protocol wars” of the early 90s, Ericsson acquired an over confidence. Her international handset divisions reported North American and Asian market development towards big screen and battery models even before the advent of smart phones. Their opinion was that in the coming battle between computers and cell phones, the “computer first but also a cell phone” approach was right. Ericsson thought those few to be Smartphones would be well served by Symbian…the exact opposite idea of their subsidiaries. They also missed the importance of data while insisting they had an early lead.
This all resulted in a merger of the handset business with Sony and splitting off Ericsson Mobile ICs…platforms. Regretfully nothing changed until Sony was very irritated threatening that, “Something must change or the relationship will terminate.” How did this involve Ericsson now Ericsson-ST? Sony-Ericsson was a captive (and by far the largest) customer. They were insulated from the market delivery chronically late and over price IC and SW stacks. The mobile chip set was also slow and provided limited graphics. Eventually that didn’t matter because the “computer part” of the phone came to dominate but Ericsson-ST had no good offering. Sony saw this (not admitted publicly) as at least a hindrance and worse possibly a way for Ericsson to reach into the venture and take more than their fair share. All that the Sony Ericsson subsidiaries feared came true and this fell through to punish Ericsson-ST. So much for this kind of vertical integration!
Well 2012 will be a bumper year with a new product offering in the smartphone market with a number of major handset providers, beyond that it becomes murky, if they dont break even by end of 2012 i think they will exit
In my opinion, the core of the problem is the CEO of ST-Ericsson. The company is indeed facing difficult times, but to create a game changing event, you need more than just a medium to good CEO, you need a brilliant CEO (a visionnary would be even better, but there is shortage of them - dixit AMD :-)).
ST-Ericsson is competing in a field where the brightest companies of today are fighting a war to death: Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Intel, Broadcom, Nvidia. The current product line of ST-Ericsson is just good, nothing really innovative. No strong differentiator in the smartphone/tablet market. To make a come back, you need a ground breaking innovation, something that will make your customer win over their competition. ST-Ericsson does have that today, so no real come back to be expected.
My message to Carlo Bazotti and Hans Vestberg:
- either urgently move Delfassy to a VP position, and get yourself some very agressive CEO
- or sell ST-Ericsson to Nvidia, AMD or Intel (Ottelini sure would look into buying it) at the best price you can get, and see the shares of your respective companies double in a few months.