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Sony Ericsson opens up UIQ ownership

Sony Ericsson, which closed its acquisition of Symbian subsidiary UIQ Technology this week, has unveiled plans to open up the open up the software house to investors.

At the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday, Sony Ericsson openly invited phone vendors to become shareholders in UIQ, which develops a user interface framework and application suite.

Sony Ericsson is already one of the most prominent licensees of UIQ technology and 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.

Speaking at the show, Miles Flint, president of Sony Ericsson, emphasised the industry’s need for a strong independent cross vendor, open user interface platform for both business and multimedia phones.

“By licensing UIQ, handset vendors will be able to share development costs and create a unified market for third party developers resulting in both a richer media and mobile internet experience for consumers,” he said.

Flint said Sony Ericsson is already in discussions with other handset vendors regarding expanding the ownership of UIQ.

At the time of Sony Ericsson’s acquisition of UIQ in November, Malik Saadi, analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media said the buyout was a sensible move. “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?”

UIQ on Symbian OS continues to be openly available, licensed on equal terms to all its licensees.

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