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Motorola buys Sendo team, patents

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Motorola has acquired the R&D team and the patent portfolio of Sendo, which went into administration today. Sendo is Britain's only mobile phone manufacturer, and shipped 5m handsets last year.

The deal affects around 200 engineers, 170 in Birmingham and 30 in Singapore, and around 90 patents or patent applications.

Sendo was founded in 1999 and has had some success with imaginative budget phones aimed at developing markets. But the brutally competitive cellphone market has been tough on lower tier vendors.

In March, Sendo referred Ericsson to the EC Antitrust department, after the latter filed suit against Sendo for patent infringement. Sendo MD Hugh Brogan described the litigation as "unprovoked and unnecessary".

Last year, Sendo settled an antitrust action against Microsoft out of court. Sendo had pulled its Microsoft-based smartphone on the eve of launch in 2002, and alleged that Microsoft handed the design to HTC. (See Microsoft's masterplan to screw phone partner.)

In the settlement, Microsoft relinquished its stake in Sendo and admitted no wrong doing. Sendo subsequently turned to Nokia and shipped a Series 60 smartphone last year. ®

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