Motorola no longer on LiMo Foundation board

One of the founders of LiMo, Motorola is focusing more on Android

Motorola is so focused on Android that it has dropped its board seat on the LiMo Foundation, the mobile Linux group it helped found.

Christy Wyatt, vice president of software applications and ecosystems at Motorola, quietly mentioned on Tuesday that she is no longer on the board of the foundation.

Motorola decided to become an associate member this year and remains an active and contributing member, it said in a statement later. Motorola is no longer listed as a founder member on the LiMo Web site.

As an associate member, Motorola is now ineligible to run for a board seat, a spokeswoman for the foundation said. In a consortium like the foundation, changes on the board are natural, she said. This year, SK Telecom and Telefonica were added to the board.

Still, the loss of Motorola as a board member is a blow to the foundation, said Allen Nogee, an analyst at In-Stat. He expressed concerns about some LiMo members, including Motorola, making recent announcements supporting Android.

Motorola's exit from the board positions Android -- a Linux-based OS that is not a part of LiMo -- as possibly one of the biggest threats to LiMo. The LiMo Foundation, started by companies including Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic, NEC and Samsung, has built a standard middleware layer that can run on different mobile Linux OSes. Android, which is supported by Google and has replicated some of the development done in the LiMo Foundation, is based on Linux and could thus join the LiMo foundation, though it has not.

Motorola appears to have decided that it will be better off focusing on Android, instead of LiMo. "Motorola co-founded the LiMo Foundation to propagate a single, unregimented, community approach to the Linux platform and remains a proponent of industry-wide use of open software platforms. At this time it feels that the Android platform gives it a richer, more consistent foundation with strong support for the ecosystem and developer community," the company said.

Motorola has said that it is focusing most of its mobile phone development efforts on Android and that the vast majority of phones it releases next year will use the software.

Another founding member -- Samsung -- has not altered its position in LiMo but recently introduced its first handsets based on Android. In addition, Verizon Wireless, which joined LiMo last year, also recently said it plans to introduce Android phones.

Despite those threats, LiMo does have strong support. It recently said that operators including NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom, Telefonica and Verizon will introduce new phones this year or next, based on the current LiMo platform release or the next one. More than 40 handsets on the market use the LiMo software.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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