Motorola departs Symbian mobile OS alliance

29 Aug 2003

Motorola has started procedures to transfer its shares in the Symbian operating system alliance back to Psion and Nokia. When the transaction is completed, Nokia will increase its shareholding from 19pc to approximately 32pc and Psion will increase its ownership to 31pc.

The intended transaction will be subject to a clearance by the German Federal Cartel Office and other shareholders in Symbian. The transaction, which values Symbian at €427m, is expected to be completed within the next few weeks.

Motorola will remain as a Symbian software licensee and will support the operating system for specific customer and business needs, including 3G devices. Explaining Motorola’s waning interest in Symbian Scott Durchslag, corporate vice president of Motorola’s Personal Communications business, said: “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 optimised and differentiated mobile experiences.”

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.

By John Kennedy