Sony Ericsson Names Ronald Louks As CTO - InformationWeek

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03:15 PM

Sony Ericsson Names Ronald Louks As CTO

The chief technology officer may look at entertainment and high-end features to help Sony Ericsson weather the struggling economy.

Sony Ericsson's chief technology officer will be stepping down as the company is facing some tough business months because of the staggering economy.

Mats Lindoff said he will be leaving the company at the end of the month to pursue new career opportunities. He will be replaced by Ronald Louks, who is currently the deputy CTO.

"After six inspiring years I have decided to pursue other opportunities outside Sony Ericsson," Lindoff said in a statement. "To be a member of the team who has built up Sony Ericsson has been a great privilege."

Louks is taking over as the company is reeling from a slumping economy that's hurting demand for its high-end devices. While the smartphone market is expected to grow in 2009, it's becoming an increasingly crowded field as Apple, HTC, Microsoft, and Nokia vie for customers' attention.

Additionally, many U.S. and Western European consumers are holding off upgrading their midtier handsets because of the uncertain economy. Unlike rivals Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung, Sony Ericsson doesn't have a large portfolio of entry-level handsets to generate large sales in countries like China and India.

"In economic terms, 2008 has been a tumultuous year with world markets experiencing a serious downturn," Sony Ericsson president Dick Komiyama said. "We foresee a continued deterioration in the marketplace in 2009, particularly in the first half."

But Sony Ericsson isn't dead yet, as the cell phone manufacturer will be looking at entertainment to help spur a comeback. At the Mobile World Congress, the company announced services that can bring full-length movies to handsets, as well as make it easier to transfer audio and video.

Additionally, the company showed off the Idou smartphone, which has a 3.5-inch touch display, 12-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, and 3G. InformationWeek was able to get a hands-on demonstration with the Idou smartphone, and the video can be found here.

The Idou is the first smartphone to officially announce it will run the open source Symbian operating system, which is expected to be completed next year. Nokia shocked many last year when it purchased the remaining shares of Symbian and said it would turn it into a royalty-free, open source operating system for smartphones.

InformationWeek analyzed the impact Symbian's move to open source would have on the smartphone industry, and the independent report can be found here (registration required).

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