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Business Impact

Sony Ericsson gets European approval to sell half of UIQ software to Motorola

Mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson won European backing Wednesday to sell a 50 percent stake of software developer UI Holdings BV to its rival, Motorola Inc.

The European Commission cleared the deal after identifying no antitrust problems and receiving no complaints from rivals.

Sony and Motorola have not disclosed the value of the stake in UI Holdings, the parent company of UIQ Technology AB, UIQ licenses open user interface and development platforms to mobile phone vendors.

Sony Ericsson, itself a 50-50 joint venture between Sony Corp. and LM Ericsson, said the deal with Motorola would help make UIQ a stronger player for selling user interface software for smartphones and media phones to all handset vendors.

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

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.

Mobile phone companies have been linking up with technology interests to capture a growing market that wants their phones to do more, from mapping and Internet searches, to texting.

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