MS goes on attack in Sendo case

'Fraudulent course of conduct'

Microsoft's legal attack dogs are snarling at last in the legal battle with Sendo, the niche British mobile phone designer.

The company has filed a counter-suit against Sendo in a federal court in Texas and is seeking to have Sendo's suit that it stole its former partner's secrets dismissed. Microsoft also wants to change the court venue - Texas, after all, is not the most obvious place to have a legal fight between companies based, respectively in Washington state and Birmingham England.

So let's rewind a bit. Sendo was Microsoft's partner to build a smartphone for the MS 'Stinger' platform, now called Smartphone 2002. After many delays, Sendo was ready to ship the Z100 in November 2002. But days from launch, the company pulled the launch. Sendo thought it had a straight run on Smartphone 2002 exclusivity, but those assumptions were shattered when Orange plumped for HTC of Taiwan to build its SPV, Stinger smartphone. The first SPVs have been somewhat buggy, but they are available - to date more than 40,000 have been sold.

In December, Sendo filed suit in Texas, accusing Microsoft of fraudulently passing on secrets to Taiwanese rivals and of deliberately undermining the company.

Microsoft filed its counterclaims on Monday (Feb 3) and Reuters once again appears to have a copy of the documents.

The failure of Z100 was, Microsoft says, due to various breaches of contract, as well the British company's "fraudulent course of conduct in repeatedly misleading Microsoft as to Sendo's financial situation, Sendo's progress in designing and developing the Z100, and Sendo's commitment to that project".

Does Microsoft have a smoking gun? Reuters reports that "in documents submitted to the court, Microsoft said it had received an unsolicited report from a Sendo employee describing Sendo's efforts to make the Z100 phone as a "runaway train," with management determined to release an unstable and unreliable product". ®

Related stories

Sendo junks MS smartphone, joins Nokia camp (lots of links to happier days with Microsoft)
Microsoft's masterplan to screw phone partner - full details
Sendo sues Microsoft over'secret' plan'
Taiwan flocks to MS Smartphone standard

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