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China wins, Symbian loses in Sony Ericsson reorg

The UI moves East

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Sony Ericsson announced a company reorganisation yesterday, intended to rationalise its R&D investment. The 2,000 job losses had been announced after another brutal quarter back in July, so yesterday's announcement tells us where these will fall.

User interface development will be centered in Beijing. The move also sees significant job cuts in the company's North Carolina operation, sources said, although there will be new hiring in its California development center. The latter focusses primarily on Windows Mobile devices such as the Xperia X1.

Symbian development hasn't been entirely abandoned, although there will be a considerable lacuna until Sony Ericsson's next Symbian devices appear, we're told.

Symbian development will focus on the company's Lund office, near Malmo, which will become the company's new Symbian "competence hub". Symbian application development isn't a priority, sources suggest, with the focus instead on integration.

Yesterday's announcement made no mention the UIQ office at Ronneby, Sweden. UIQ is the joint venture with Motorola which began life in the 1990s as an Ericsson R&D lab, and which had invested heavily in system and application development for the UIQ user interface for Symbian devices.

UIQ was the first casualty of the announcement by the acquisition of Symbian by Nokia back in June, as Sony Ericsson decided it would develop new UIs based on Nokia's S60 instead. UIQ's London and Budapest offices were closed, and deep redundancies at Ronneby left the office as little more than a stub. One source suggest all Sony Ericsson's Symbian application developers will leave by the end of next March.

Sony Ericsson had not responded to our request for comment at time of writing. ®

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