Sony Ericsson's Q1 profit falls 48 percent on weak sales, low supplies

We knew Sony Ericsson's supplies were tight following the recent natural disasters in Japan, but in retrospect it's clear the phone maker was already having a rough quarter. The company released its Q1 earnings today, and reported that its profit fell 48 percent to €11 million ($15.8 million) due to weak sales -- a shortfall compounded by higher taxes and quake-related supply constraints. To be fair, at this time last year, the company earned money after a sweet tax benefit, so its profit wasn't completely built on strong sales. All told, it sold 8.1 million phones in the most recent quarter -- down 23 percent from the same period a year ago, though the average selling price for handsets ticked up 5 percent. In particular, smartphones accounted for 60 percent of the company's sales, though by the company's own estimate, it's only snagged 5 percent of global market share. And, it seems, Sony Ericsson's management team isn't getting too ambitious -- it forecast just a "modest" uptick in overall phone sales in 2011.