Motorola Leaving Symbian Partnership

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Motorola announced it will sell its share of the Symbian partnership to two others members. It is planning to switch its emphasis to Java in future smart phones.

Motorola was one of the four companies that founded Symbian to develop and licence the Symbian OS used in many smart phones. When the partnership was created, it was agreed that none of the partners would sell their shares for five years. The fifth year was over last Thursday and Motorola announced on Friday it was selling out to Nokia and Psion, two other founders.

However, this doesn’t mean Motorola will no longer offer smart phones running the Symbian OS. But it is intending to de-emphasize the operating system its handsets will use and emphasize that they can run Java applications.

“As a Symbian licensee, Motorola will continue to support the Symbian OS for specific customer and business needs, such as in our 3G devices. However, our primary software focus for the mass market will stay centered on Java, which is also supported by Symbian. We believe Java is what ultimately provides our customers worldwide with the most optimized and differentiated mobile experiences,” said Scott Durchslag, corporate vice president of Motorola’s Personal Communications Sector.

Details of the Deal

Motorola currently has 19% of Symbian. It is going to sell 5.8% of the company to Psion and 13.2% to Nokia. After the deal, Psion will own 31.1% of Symbian, while Nokia will have 32.2%. These two will have, by far, the largest stakes on the company.

This sale must be approved by the other shareholders in the Symbian partnership before it can happen. It must also get approval from the German Federal Cartel Office.

The other partners in Symbian are Ericsson, Matsushita, Samsung, Siemens, and Sony Ericsson.

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