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Sony Ericsson boss admits 'we should have taken the iPhone more seriously'

Sony Ericsson chief muckamuck Bert Nordberg reckons, "Sony Ericsson should have taken the iPhone more seriously." Really Bert?

In what may qualify as the understatement of the year, Sony Ericsson's boss has admitted his company should have taken the iPhone more seriously.

"It's safe to say that Sony Ericsson should have taken the iPhone more seriously when it arrived in 2007," Sony Ericsson chief muckamuck Bert Nordberg told the Wall Street Journal. Nordberg wasn't in charge then, but since he took over Sony Ericsson's slice of the mobile phone market has halved to less than 2 per cent.

The iPhone was unveiled in January 2007, and it hit shops in June that year. It was a quantum leap for mobiles, the first phone to do away with buttons and do a full-sized touchscreen well. Sony Ericsson had nothing comparable in its lineup -- the M600i had a touchscreen but lacked a camera, and even its better phones, such as the W880i, were candybar phones with keypads, or sliders such as the W850i. Remember those?

Maybe the bods at Son Eric could be forgiven for failing to see how much the iPhone would shake up the phone market -- after all, Apple had dipped its toes into mobile waters with the Motorola Rokr E1, and that didn't exactly set the world alight.

Plus Sony Ericsson had aces up its sleeve, thanks to its other Sony brands: chiefly Cyber-shot and Walkman. Long before 8-megapixel phone cameras, high-definition video recording or video calling, Sony Ericsson was using the power of its sister company's compact camera range to sell phones such as the K800i. Meanwhile the Walkman brand meant phones such as the W950i were the mutt's nuts when it came to listening to music on your phone.

Apple's track record in music with the iPod and iTunes should have tipped it that something was about to change. So what happened? The iPhone happened, Android happened, smart phones happened, and Sony Ericsson, once in a great position, is now just one of the Android pack.

Nordberg also said Android is "the best choice we could have made", as opposed to, say, developing its own OS or adopting Windows Phone, as Nokia has. Nokia is another old-school phone brand wrong-footed by the rise of the iPhone and smart phones, and Johnny-Come-Latelys such as HTC and Samsung. 

Still, hindsight is 20/20, and phones such as the Xperia Ray and Xperia Neo are decent mid-range Android phones. And they're bringing back the Walkman! Even the initially disappointing Xperia Play has had a serious price cut and software updates.

Do you have fond memories of a Sony Ericsson? Did the company squander the advantages of its other Sony brands like Cyber-shot, Walkman and PlayStation? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.