Feeds

How Britain lost Sendo

The Chronicles of Collapsia

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

New filings cast light on the sad demise of Britain's only mobile phone manufacturer, Sendo.

Following protracted legal battles with former partner and shareholder Microsoft and others, the group finally ran of money, and its assets were sold to Motorola in June.

Motorola seems to have got rather a bargain, according to reports recently filed by the administrators, Kroll.

It paid the surprisingly low sum of $30,000 (£16,884) for the intellectual property of Sendo Holdings PLC, the parent company for the Sendo group.

Motorola paid £362,575 ($638,749) for the plant, machinery and equipment of Sendo's main UK subsidiary, Sendo Limited.

The filings show that Sendo's financial troubles became serious earlier than many thought.

"From March 2004 the group began to experience financial difficulties as a consequence of reduced sales and margins caused by difficult market conditions and higher manufacturing costs," the filing notes.

"The Group experienced deterioration in the margins on products as a result of pricing pressures in the marketplace and the high cost of manufacture of products," it says.

Sendo told investment bank Lehman Brothers to hoist the 'for sale' sign late in 2004. Four buyers were interested, but none would agree a deal.

In May 2005, Sendo failed to make payments to Celestica, the Canadian electronics manufacturer which made up Sendo's designs.

Celestica, itself struggling to restructure and return to profit, called in the administrators, who were finally appointed at the end of June. Motorola started talks on June 21, and the sale was agreed eight days later.

Sendo Holdings owes Celestica £110m, the documents say, and has £29m of debts to other companies.

The one name conspicuously missing from Sendo's filings is Microsoft. It isn't mentioned at all, despite the fact that its spectacular falling out with Sendo in 2002 set the mobile phone firm back a long way in its bid to launch a smartphone.

The two companies then set to in a brutal legal battle, which contributed £6m to the £46m of losses that Sendo booked for the year to September 30 2003.

The collapse of Sendo means we may never know if, and how much, Microsoft paid to settle the case last September, as accounts for 2004 are unlikely to be filed.

The Microsoft case, and Sendo's other legal battles won't have helped its cause, wasting money and management time which might better have been invested in product development.

But the demise of Sendo is not so much due to Redmond skulduggery, as the sheer difficulty of being a small player in a high-volume market like mobile phones, particularly if you're based in high-cost Britain.

Sendo's strategy of pursuing both ends of the market without the research budgets or the economies of scale of a major player made the odds against success even worse.

Representatives of Kroll declined to provide comment for this story. Likewise Celestica. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.