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Sony Ericsson unveils new smartphones

Swedish-Japanese handset maker Sony Ericsson unveiled its new smartphones on Sunday as it seeks to close the gap on its main competitors.

Sony Ericsson unveils new smartphones
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro

Sony Ericsson showed its new multi-media handsets in Barcelona, Spain, on the eve of the industry’s biggest annual gathering, the Mobile World Congress.

The company trails far behind Nokia, iPhone-maker Apple and BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) in the market for smartphones, devices with Internet, emails, music players and games.

Sony Ericsson is the world’s fifth biggest mobile phone maker and a pioneer of the smartphone segment, but the firm has lost ground in recent years.

Its chief, Bert Nordberg, conceded in Barcelona on Sunday that the company had gone through a “turbulent year”.

The company unveiled its first Android smartphone, Xperia X10, in November.

On Sunday, it displayed its touch-screen “little brothers”, the X10 Mini and the X10 Pro.

Sony Ericsson will also launch Vivaz Pro, which includes high-definition video and works under Nokia’s Symbian operating system.

Consumers have shown a big appetite for smartphones.

While global shipments of handsets grew by 10 percent in the last quarter of last year compared to the same period in 2008, smartphones jumped 30 percent, according to Strategy Analytics.

And while handset sales are expected to grow by nine percent this year, smartphones will skyrocket by 46 percent, according to Gartner.

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BUSINESS

Fired Ericsson boss to get millions in payouts

Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson has fired its long-standing CEO Hans Vestberg, but said he will receive a severance package amounting to millions of kronor.

Fired Ericsson boss to get millions in payouts
Hans Vestberg of Ericsson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT
Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson has fired its long-standing CEO Hans Vestberg, the company announced on Monday morning.
 
Vestberg has been under pressure in recent weeks in the light of a falling share price and lower-than-expected profits. Last week, the company – Sweden's second largest by turnover – announced it was doubling the scope of a major cost-cutting program.
 
In a statement on Monday, chairman Leif Johansson said that “given the current market environment and the increased tempo of the execution of the company’s strategy, the board has decided that the time is right for a new leader to drive the next phase of Ericsson’s development.”
 
Johansson said Vestberg had “built strong relationships and partnerships with important customers around the world, and his leadership and energy have been inspiring for both employees and leaders within Ericsson.”
 
Vestberg, 51, has worked at Ericsson since graduating in 1991. He has been CEO since 2010.
 
Ericsson’s share price has plunged 23 percent so far this year, while the market as a whole has fallen just three percent. Operating profits for the second quarter were well below market expectations, at 2.8 billion kronor ($327 million).
 
The company’s deputy CEO Jan Frykhammar has been appointed as interim CEO.
 
Vestberg is likely to receive a severance package of 28 million kronor, seven million of which will be paid out during his six-month notice period.
 
“After the notice period he will get 21 million in severance pay, which corresponds to 18 months of salary. If he gets a new job within these 18 months, the payout could be cut to up to 50 percent,” Ericsson press officer Simon Sundberg told the TT newswire.