Sony Ericsson sells UI stake to Motorola


STOCKHOLM — Mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB on Monday said it has agreed to sell a 50 percent stake of UI Holdings BV to rival Motorola Inc.

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

UI Holdings is the parent company of UIQ Technology AB, which is wholly owned by Sony Ericsson, the 50-50 joint venture between Sony Corp. and LM Ericsson.

UIQ licenses open user interface and development platforms to mobile phone vendors.

In the joint venture with Motorola, Sony Ericsson said the two companies intend to further advance UIQ Technology “as a strong, independent cross-vendor user interface for smartphones and media-centric phones.”

They also plan to “significantly increase their cooperation and support for the UIQ developer program.”

The company added the deal should be perceived “as an invitation to other mobile device vendors to participate in the UIQ community, either as shareholders or licensees.”

Under the agreement, UIQ Technology will be vendor and chipset independent and will be licensed equally to all mobile device vendors in the industry.

The two companies will also be committed to expanding their shareholder base of UI Holdings to include other handset vendors, Sony Ericsson said.

Miles Flint, president of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, said the deal “demonstrates the increasing importance of open operating systems for all handset vendors.”

Alain Mutricy, senior vice president for Platforms at Motorola Mobile Devices said UIQ’s “flexibility will enable us to bring devices to market that meet regional preferences or specific operator customization requirements.”

Both companies have previously launched a number of Symbian and UIQ based products, including Sony Ericsson’s P1 smartphone and W960 Walkman phone and Motorola’s MOTO Z8.