Sony Ericsson will sell half of its UIQ unit to Motorola
15 October 2007 by Olav Hellesø-Knutsen
Updated! Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB will sell half of its UIQ software licensing unit to Motorola.
Miles Flint, President of Sony Ericsson and Johan Sandberg, CEO of UIQ will host an international press conference announcing a strategic business update for UIQ today at 2:00pm BST time. It is expected that it will be announced that sell 50% of the company to Motorola.
Following Sony Ericssonss acquisition of the Swedish software company from Symbian Ltd on 2nd February, there has been significant progress with regards to UIQ technology, handsets and licensing. Monday's announcement will further enhance the strength of UIQ as highly competitive and independent cross-vendor user interface platform for business and multimedia feature phones.
UIQ technology is used in mobile phones from Sony Ericsson, Motorola, BenQ and Arima.
Update with press release:
Sony Ericsson and Motorola, today announced a definitive agreement under which Motorola will acquire a 50% interest in UI Holdings BV, the parent company of UIQ Technology AB, which is currently wholly owned by Sony Ericsson. Under the agreement, Motorola and Sony Ericsson will work together and jointly invest in the development of the UIQ open user interface platform. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. As previously announced, Sony Ericsson acquired UIQ Technology from Symbian Ltd in February 2007.
UIQ Technology licenses the UIQ open user interface and development platform to mobile phone vendors around the world. Motorola and Sony Ericsson are committed to further advancing UIQ as a strong, independent cross-vendor user interface for smartphones and media-centric phones. Today's announcement should be seen as an invitation to other mobile device vendors to participate in the UIQ community, either as shareholders or licensees.
Motorola and Sony Ericsson also plan to significantly increase their cooperation and support for the UIQ developer program. More details will be unveiled to developers at a special event today following a media and analyst briefing.
Both companies have agreed that UIQ will be vendor and chipset independent. In addition, UIQ will be licensed on equal terms to all mobile device vendors in the industry. Sony Ericsson and Motorola are committed to expanding the shareholder base of UI Holdings to include other handset vendors.
Sony Ericsson and Motorola each have been UIQ licensees for many years and have launched several successful Symbian/UIQ based products including, the Sony Ericsson P1 smartphone, the new W960 Walkman® phone and the Motorola MOTO Z8. UIQ, offered the industry's first touch-screen interface back in 2002, and now supports both QWERTY and classic numerical keyboard configurations as well as finger touch data input. UIQ's single code base greatly simplifies customization for handset vendors, operators and third-party developers.
Miles Flint, President of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, said "This is an important transaction that demonstrates the increasing importance of open operating systems for all handset vendors. By working together in a strong, mutually beneficial partnership, hand-set vendors can reduce development costs and help operators launch more consistent services with greater efficiency. At the same time, service providers and applications developers benefit from a more robust environment to create compelling end-to-end solutions which benefit consumers by enabling a more personalized user-experience".
Alain Mutricy, Senior Vice President, Platforms, Motorola Mobile Devices stated: "Motorola's investment in UIQ will enable us to bring feature-competitive multimedia devices to market. Its flexibility will enable us to bring devices to market that meet regional preferences or specific operator customisation requirements. We look forward to working closely with our partners, Sony Ericsson and UIQ."
Johan Sandberg, CEO of UIQ Technology, said, "We are extremely excited to be working closely with Motorola and Sony Ericsson, two well-established industry leaders. UIQ offers a truly personal and rich user experience plus important flexibility for developers, operators and phone vendors as it supports many form factors in one code base. UIQ has benefited greatly from our partnership with Sony Ericsson and we are confident that Motorola's interest will create new and important growth opportunities for UIQ, our customers, employees and consumers around the world"
Motorola's investment in UI Holdings BV is subject to customary regulatory approval and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Sony Ericsson and Motorola confirmed their aim is to further expand ownership of UIQ in the future and hope to make further announcements about new shareholders and licensees in due course.