Nokia Strengthens Investment in Symbian, Motorola Bails
By Justin Ried, Fri Aug 29 07:00:00 GMT 2003

From the Nokia press release: "Nokia and Psion start procedures to enable transfer of Symbian shares from Motorola." Wow. I suppose we can expect the formal announcement of a Motorola V700 any day now...

Symbian appears to be in damage control mode, showing off the Motorola A920 on its homepage. While the A920 product announcement is significant for Symbian, the fact that Motorola is dumping their shares in the company indicates the platform will play less of a role in future products. Add Linux and Windows Mobile to the mix and it appears Motorola is hedging its platform bets. Whether this particular move pays off for them remains to be seen.

The release continues:

Nokia, Psion plc and Motorola Inc. have started procedures to enable the transfer of shares of Symbian Ltd. from Motorola's U.K. subsidiary, Motorola Ltd., to Nokia and Psion plc. Symbian Ltd. is an independent software licensing company that develops and licenses the Symbian OS (operating system).

On completion of the transaction, Nokia estimates to increase its shareholding from approximately 19% up to approximately 32% and Psion is anticipated to increase its ownership to approximately 31%. The proposed transfer will not affect Motorola's existing licensing arrangement with Symbian.

"The investment shows Nokia's continued support to Symbian as a strong independent software licensing company and to its stable development as smart phones move towards the volume market. Symbian has proven that it is fully able to meet the different needs of its licensees by providing the most optimized operating system for feature rich mobile devices," says Pertti Korhonen, executive vice president, Nokia Mobile Software.

"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.

Nokia and other industry leaders founded Symbian in 1998. The Symbian OS has become a widely adopted operating system for advanced, data-enabled mobile devices. Furthermore, the Series 60 Platform is built on the Symbian OS. Series 60 is a terminal software product that Nokia licenses to handset manufacturers, such as Panasonic, Samsung, Sendo, Siemens and Nokia Mobile Phones. These companies are also licensees of the Symbian OS.

The intended transactions are subject to a clearance by German Federal Cartel Office and to a pre-emption procedure among the other shareholders of Symbian. These procedures have been started by the actions of Nokia, Psion plc and Motorola Ltd., and are expected to be completed within the coming weeks. The transaction implies a value for Symbian as a whole of GBP 300 million (approx. EUR 427 million).