A deal rumored to be in the works in recent months, Sony has now confirmed that it's buying partner Ericsson out of their Sony Ericsson joint venture -- a move that comes just over ten years since the company started operating on October 1st, 2001. The deal means that the phone business will fall under Sony's direct control, but it also means that Sony will be receiving "ownership of five essential patent families" and cross-licensing deals on a broader scale; considering how hot the patent war is becoming in the Android world, we're sure that Sony is keen on letting Microsoft and Apple know that they've got both guns and ammunition at the ready.

Sony's paying Ericsson €1.05 billion ($1.47 billion) in the buyout, which is expected to close in January 2012.