UIQ 'files for bankruptcy' in Sweden
First tech casualty of 2009?
UIQ has finally thrown in the towel and reportedly applied for bankruptcy in the Swedish courts.
The mobile interface developer's employees were warned their jobs were on the line back in November. Back then Sony Ericsson, one of its few remaining backers along with Motorola, said it would fund the firm's wages while it searched for a raison d'etre in the wake of the launch of the Symbian foundation in the summer.
Presumably Sony Ericsson didn't feel like playing Santa Claus right into January, and Reuters reported this morning that UIQ has filed for bankruptcy in the Swedish courts.
UIQ Chief Executive Johan Sandberg reportedly told Reuters: "There are no opportunities to create a new line of business in the current financial climate."
Reuters reported that the firm has around 200 employees suggesting the payroll has already been pared back - in November 270 were warned their jobs were under threat.
We called UIQ in Sweden, but no one had got back to us at time of writing.
The firm's demise was considered inevitable once Nokia bought out its Symbian partners, then relaunched the mobile OS business as a quasi-open Foundation, with a single interface layer.
For an analysis of what went wrong, click here. ®
On the cards...
Even though the demise of UIQ has been on the cards for a couple of months now, this news still highlights just how far the open-source movement has come in the mobility space. Everyone from application developers to handset manufacturers now seem to hold the expectation that intellectual property ought to come for free, especially in the current climate. It may be too early to say whether or not the royalty-based model is doomed, however it's clear that mobile software vendors must continue to innovate, and would be well-advised to establish alternate revenue streams if they are to survive long-term in the mobility market.
Bye Bye UIQ
I will miss you. And your special ways.
Even so, my brand spanking new C905 has not replaced by P1i as my primary phone which I shall just have to keep ticking over until whatever the next revolution is.
Rest in peace.
I agree with you in liking UIQ more than WinCE, but it is just an interface layer that runs on Symbian, so any difference to other Symbian phones is probably because they were using S60 (Nokia). I never had strong feelings between UIQ and S60, so the advantages of a unified Symbian interface might be worth the loss. Nokia developer support for S60 had been improving up to the big Symbian announcement, although I haven't really been dealing with them since then.
I also gave up on WinCE about two years ago. At the time, none of the devices I could find even had an off switch. As a developer, if I left one of them in the desk for a week, it needed to be plugged in and have the time and date reset to be used again. Who builds a battery-powered device with no off switch? I assume that has been fixed by now, but what a mess.