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Sony Ericsson buys Symbian subsidiary

Sony Ericsson on Tuesday announced that it has reached agreement in principle to buy the Swedish software firm UIQ Technology AB, a subsidiary of the British operating system company, Symbian.

UIQ Technology licenses its user interface and application development platform to mobile phone companies around the world and already has a close relationship with Sony Ericsson.

Sony Ericsson is already a licensee of UIQ Technology and in a statement said it has been working closely with the company on UIQ version 3.0, which is included in Sony Ericsson’s P990 smartphone, M600 messaging phone and W950 Walkman phone.

Mats Lindoff, chief technology officer at Sony Ericsson said: “UIQ offers excellent technical flexibility enabling us to provide compelling features such as push email, internet browsing, end user personalisation, and enhanced music applications. By acquiring UIQ Technology we will further invest and exploit the full potential of UIQ on Symbian OS for phone vendors, mobile operators, developers and consumers.”

Malik Saadi, analyst with Telecoms.com’s parent Informa Telecoms and Media said the acquisition of UIQ “is quite predictable and I believe quite sensible too”. He explained: “The main customers of UIQ were Sony-Ericsson, Motorola, Sendo, BenQ , and Arima. However, Motorola is not supporting Symbian/UIQ anymore, Sendo is now part of Motorola business while BenQ continues to have troubles with its Mobile division, Sony Ericsson is currently the only potential customer of UIQ and it only makes sense for the Sony Ericsson to absorb UIQ. Now the question is: would Sony Ericsson make from UIQ what Nokia managed to do with series 60?”

Following completion of the acquisition, UIQ Technology will operate as a separate business subsidiary of Sony Ericsson under its current management team, the company said. UIQ on Symbian OS will continue to be openly available, licensed on equal terms to all its licensees.

Nigel Clifford, Chief Executive Officer, Symbian said the deal was “a positive development as it will strengthen the capabilities and services available for phones based on UIQ and Symbian OS whilst allowing us to focus on the core product development of Symbian OS for the mass market.”

Sony Ericsson expects the transaction to be completed over the next few months, pending regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. A spokesperson told Telecoms.com Tuesday morning that once the approval period has passed the company will discuss in more detil what can be expected from the union of the companies.

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