Sony Ericsson’s Loss Is Apple’s Gain: iPhone Maker Hires Latin America Head

Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC), as it winds up as a troubled joint venture to become fully part of Sony, is spinning out some talent in the process: it’s understood that Anderson Teixeira, formerly an executive that had run different regional operations for the JV, is now Apple’s first head of Latin America — a sign of Apple’s growing interests in the region.
The news, first reported by 9to5Mac, appeared to be confirmed as much by what looks like Teixeira’s own LinkedIn profile. We have contacted Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) to confirm the appointment.
If accurate, this would be the first time that Apple has hired a regional manager for Latin America in recent times, according to AppleInsider. And indeed, Apple, whose mobile devices and computers are priced at the higher end of market, has entered Latin America perhaps more slowly than it has other emerging economies like China.
Because Apple puts Latin America into the same category as the U.S. and Canada in its results, we don’t know exactly how much revenue the company generates there, but it’s clear that the figure is going up and represents a bit opportunity for the company. In October, during Apple’s Q3 conference call, CEO Tim Cook noted that revenues in Latin America’s biggest economy, Brazil, were up 118 percent over the year before.
But he also acknowledged that Apple has not been as aggressive in some developing markets as it has been in China — where it has several retail stores and counts Asia overall as its second-biggest market after the Americas. (China alone accounts or 16 percent of revenues.)
With Apple reporting its Q4 results later today, the company might reveal another update on how Latin America is progressing. The past quarter has seen a few events that might merit mention later today:
It was only in December 2011 that Apple launched its first local iTunes store for Brazil and the rest of Latin America, the same month that the iPhone 4S began to ship in Brazil and Chile, among a list of other emerging markets.
And Foxconn, a key iPhone and iPad manufacturer for Apple, reportedly started to produce devices in a factory in Brazil — although, again, these reports have never been confirmed by either company.
Teixeira helping to oversee a local manufacturing operation might prove to be useful for supplying Apple-hungry consumers north of the border, but it could also be used to feed demand closer to the plant as well.
That might mean cheaper prices for those devices, too: that iPhone 4S that launched in mid-December did so at a crazy price: almost $2,000, a premium of nearly $1,200 on the U.S. retail price.
Apple is not the only media company eyeing up Latin America for growth: Netflix also used it as the springboard for its first international launch, and just last week Telefonica beefed up its online video offerings in the region in a deal with Sony.
Teixeira is a Brazil native who had been with Sony Ericsson since the formation of the JV in 2001, overseeing first Latin America (which had been a big market for the JV); then Western Europe and finally North America. According to LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD), he will be based around Miami and Ft Lauderdale in Florida.