We all saw it coming and, sure enough, it's finally happened. After all the rumors and opaque comments, Sony has just bought out Ericsson's share of Sony Ericsson, effectively assuming ownership of the entire venture. Ericsson confirmed the buyout this morning, adding that it will receive a cash consideration of €1.05 billion in exchange for its 50 percent stake. Sony, meanwhile, will now have the chance to integrate smartphones more tightly within its arsenal of tablets, laptops and gaming devices. The agreement also gives Sony an IP cross-licensing agreement and ownership of "five essential patent families" pertaining to wireless tech, though the breadth of this coverage remains unclear. The separation won't be finalized, however, until January 2012, pending regulatory approval. Find more details in the full PR, after the break.
Update: Sony president and CEO Sir Howard Stringer has just addressed the media on the proposed buyout and confirmed that the company will indeed move away from feature phones, as previously stated. This effectively heralds the death of the Walkman line and the dawn of Sony's exclusively Android era, though Stringer's not ruling out the possibility of bringing another OS on board. When asked whether his firm would consider buying webOS, the exec said simply, "Never say never."