Sony is looking to buy out Ericsson’s share of its mobile phone business, ending a partnership established in 2001, reports Daisuke Wakabayashi of the Wall Street Journal. The deal would give Sony complete control of the Sony Ericsson brand and allow it to more fully integrate its mobile phone business with the rest of its technology products.

Sony wants to buy out the 50% of the joint venture owned by Ericsson in a deal that is nearing its close, sources have said. The two companies have been in discussions about this for years but apparently it is getting more likely with these recent talks, although it is said that they could “break apart at any time.”

The deal would allow Sony to ensure that its mobile products, like tablets, and its music and movie business would have a more integrated platform. In recent years, Ericsson has shifted its attention to providing networking equipment to corporations, rather than concentrating on the cell phone business.

I think that this is a great deal frankly and would love to see Sony take the reins of its own mobile business and begin producing some innovative and interesting products in the mobile space again. Besides the integration of the PlayStation into the recent Xperia Play, much of the Sony Ericsson products that have been produced lately are merely riffs on the Walkman phones that the partnership began offering years ago.

This is a far cry from the early days of the T68i and T610, tiny color screen phones that felt like the future, despite their slow performance and low-resolution screens. I miss those days when, if you wanted the coolest phone, you got a Sony Ericsson.

The price will likely be the sticking point here and it is expected to reach as much as $1.7B. The strength of the Yen is also a factor as it is the strongest against the Euro that it has been in some time.