HTC acquires mobile software company

The handset maker bought French company Abaxia, which develops phone home screen software

HTC acquired a French company that makes software used by operators and phone makers to design mobile phone home screens.

HTC did not disclose the purchase price for Abaxia, the Paris-based company whose software has been deployed on more than 25 million phones and 60 different handset models.

Abaxia’s software lets an operator offer a consistent home screen across all handsets that it offers. That can be important as operators try to market specific services or applications. The software is also used by mobile phone makers to design home screens.

Current Abaxia customers include Vodafone, Orange, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. In a brief statement, HTC did not say if it would continue to offer Abaxia products to competitive phone makers.

While HTC started out as a contract phone maker, it is making more and more phones under its own brand. In addition, with Android, it has built its own user interface to distinguish its phones from others using the operating system. The Abaxia technology could contribute to those efforts.

If HTC acquires important patents from Abaxia, it could also gain leverage in its ongoing legal battle with Apple. Earlier this year Apple filed patent infringement suits against HTC, charging it in part with infringing patents related to the iPhone’s user interface. Additional patents could potentially help HTC negotiate during the dispute.

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