Why Motorola bought half of UIQ

Motorola's recent acquisition of 50 percent of Sony Ericsson's UIQ subsidiary raised a lot of questions last week about how two competing handset makers could jointly own an OS company and why they'd want to do so in the first place. UIQ's CEO Johan Sandberg explained that the deal meant his company "could get the funding and investment we needed to get to the next step with our platform."

"That growth is all about bringing our platform to the next stage by improving the user experience of the platform and adding more support for more form factors, more hardware and different interfaces, while adding to the platform pieces that we're missing that our customers want," Sandberg said.

Motorola's VP of software platforms and ecosystem, Christy Wyatt characterized the deal as a longtime coming. "When looking at platform analysis, we look at the strategic value for us," Wyatt explained. This deal gives us a greater "ability to influence direction [of UIQ], which we would get to some extent as a licensee, but we want to have a little bit more influence."

While Wyatt seemed bullish about UIQ's future at Motorola, she would not divulge how big a role UIQ will play in Motorola's handset portfolio moving forward. "Operators don't often call us and ask for operating systems," Wyatt said. "We have had operators who have requested specific operating systems, but that's not usually what they are asking for, they are asking for us to deliver experiences" or certain applications. -Brian

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