Motorola jumps into bed with Microsoft

5 Sep 2003

More than a week after exiting the €472m Symbian mobile phone operating system alliance with Nokia and Psion, it has emerged that Motorola has begun working with Microsoft on delivering software to France Telecom’s mobile operator, Orange.

Last week, Motorola departed the Symbian alliance, unloading its 19pc stake in the consortium. Motorola said that it will remain as a Symbian software licencee and will support the operating system for specific customer and business needs, including 3G devices. The company iterated that it was primarily interested in Java applications for mobile, which are supported by Symbian and also by the rival Microsoft-Intel mobile operating system axis.

According to reports, a Microsoft-powered phone manufactured by Motorola is expected to debut in France this month. A deal with France Telecom would represent a major coup for Motorola, which is anxious to step up in the highly competitive mobile marketplace.

Orange has said that it would strike deals with Microsoft to develop new Windows Mobile-based smart phones as well as a phone for business customers featuring an operating system from Palm, a Microsoft rival.

Motorola’s decision to exit the alliance came just a day after the company unveiled its first Symbian mobile phone, the A920. The Symbian alliance, which will effectively compete against a Microsoft and Intel alliance for operating systems on mobile devices, was established by Nokia, Motorola and Psion in 1998. The consortium has developed the Series 60 operating system that Nokia licenses to handset manufacturers such as Panasonic, Samsung, Sendo and Siemens.

For Motorola’s part it seems that the world’s second largest mobile phone manufacturer is happy to keep a finger in every pie, be it a Wintel alliance or Symbian or anyone else for that matter. For example, earlier this year Motorola launched its first mobile phone that includes both the Linux operating system and Java software technology, which are rivals to Microsoft products.

By John Kennedy