The first two quarterly reports for 2009 revealed turnover of SEK 49.6 billion and SEK 52.1 billion, a rise of just under 10 percent on the previous year. Operating profit was SEK 4.7 billion and SEK 6.9 billion, down sharply due to losses by Sony Ericsson and ST-Ericsson. The share price dropped after each report by around 7–8 per cent.

“We can see different trends,” was Svanberg’s comment after the second quarterly report. “The impact of the global economic downturn on the market for mobile infrastructure is more noticeable. At the same time there is a rapid rise in consumer demand for new services and broadband, and new technologies are being expanded in all the world’s leading economies.” He pointed out that that savings measures had achieved their intended results and that margins had improved in every segment.

One analyst said: “Ericsson’s biggest strength is that its competitors aren’t as resilient.”

As he had often said previously, Svanberg commented that: “Telecommunications play a vital role for economic growth and social development, and the expansion of fixed and mobile broadband is now part of the political agenda in most countries.”

In mid-August 2009, news emerged that Bert Nordberg would take over as CEO of Sony Ericsson from Dick Komiyama, and that Sir Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony, would succeed Svanberg as board chairman. Komiyama had been CEO of Sony Ericsson for two years.

“Developments in the mobile telephone market are fascinating at the moment,” Nordberg said in an interview after the appointment was announced. “It is probably the hottest part of the industry right now.” Discussing platforms, he pointed out one company as of particular interest: Google, with its Android operating system. “The platform has functions that attract users who control and create things themselves. We will continue our cooperation with Google and I will help advance that.”

Author: Svenolof Karlsson & Anders Lugn

© Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson and Centre for Business History

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