Psion, the once-iconic UK mobile device manufacturer, has received an acquisition bid from business handset maker Motorola Solutions, worth £128 million.
Motorola Solutions is the business-focused half of Motorola, which split into two in 2011. Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of the other half, Motorola Mobility, closed last month.
Psion has been making mobile devices since the 1980s and became famous for its personal digital assistants (PDAs). In 1998, it was reported that an internal Microsoft memo from Bill Gates identified Psion as its greatest competitive threat.
However, emerging competition from mobile phones and laptops caused Psion to refocus on the business market, and in 2000, it acquired Canadian ruggedised handset-maker Teklogix.
In an interview with Information Age last year, Psion global leader for digital communications Jonathan Brayshaw said the company “bumbled along” for many years after that, and that it was not until 2008, when Psion appointed John Conoley as CEO, that the company started to see a transformation.
“He saw that buried in our overall product portfolio was a degree of modularity, which could allow our devices to be customised from the ground up,” Brayshaw said. Since then, it has been using an online community to encourage partners and customers to develop new functionality using its modular technology.
Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown called Psion "a compelling opportunity", adding that its "ruggedized handheld products and vehicle-mount terminals that will deepen our presence in the global markets in which we compete."
The company already owns a 10% stake in Psion. The acquisition, which has been recommended by Psion’s board of directors, is awaiting shareholder approval.