DoCoMo invests $234M in handset software makers

Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo plans to invest a total of $234 million in mobile software companies Access and Aplix. DoCoMo is raising its 7.12 percent stake in Access to 11.66 percent for $125 million, making it the second-largest investor in the company. DoCoMo said it wants more of Access in its pocket to shape upper layer applications for the next generation of handset browsers. The company already uses Access' NetFront browser in its 3G FOMA handsets. The other $109 million investment in Aplix makes DoCoMo the top shareholder in the software developer with nearly 15 percent. Aplix makes software that controls JAVA terminals and DoCoMo could use Aplix to reinforce and build out its JAVA handsets.

Access acquired PalmSource, makers of Palm OS, since DoCoMo's last investment in the company. Aplix also announced its plans to work with NTT DoCoMo and Sun Microsystems on their joint efforts to plot a road map for Java-based mobile phones. Aplix said it will mostly be a consultant for DoCoMo on the venture, called the Star Project.

For more on DoCoMo's investments:
- read this press release on Aplix
- and check out this press release on Access