While there were some signs of improvement in the fourth quarter, the past three months resulted in more red ink for Sony Ericsson. The joint venture had a net loss of 167 million Euros ($236 million U.S. Dollars) vs a loss of 187 million Euros ($265 million U.S. Dollars) a year ago. Sales dropped 40% to 1.75 billion Euros from the last three months of 2008 and the number of units sold fell by the same percentage to 14.6 million handsets. That is a 3% gain from the prior quarter, but a 40% drop from the previous year. On the positive side, gross margins increased to 23% from 15% last year and 16% in the third quarter of 2009. Credit goes to tighter cost controls on the part of the joint venture, and the increase in the number of new models rolled out in Q4. Sony Ericsson estimated it owned a 5% share of the cellular market in 2009 and expects to see growth in the industry in 2010.