Handset makers show commitment to Symbian OS

In a display of commitment to Symbian Ltd.'s OS (operating system) for mobile phones, three major handset makers increased their investment in the company, while Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB made its first investment, Symbian said Tuesday.

Symbian is to receive a total of £20.75 million (US$17.95 million) of funding from Nokia, Motorola, Matsushita Communication Industrial (Panasonic), Sony Ericsson, and Psion PLC, according to a Symbian statement.

Sony Ericsson, established in October last year, is Symbian's newest shareholder. It took over the right of founding shareholder L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co. to make further investments. The handset maker sees the Symbian OS as a "key enabler" for its GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and 3G (third-generation) phones, according to the Symbian statement.

The Symbian OS, which competes with Microsoft Corp.'s smart-phone platform, is used in Psion handheld computers as well as smart phones from Ericsson and Nokia. Panasonic and Motorola are planning to introduce phones with the software and Nokia has stated that at least half of its 3G phones in 2004 will be based on the Symbian OS.

Symbian was founded in 1998 and is jointly owned by Sony Ericsson, Ericsson, Nokia, Matsushita, Motorola and Psion.

Ericsson did not transfer its stake in Symbian to Sony Ericsson, but instead handed over the right to make future investments in the company, a Sony Ericsson spokesman said.

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