8 November 2002 British mobile phone maker Sendo has been giving its reasons for the termination yesterday of its Smartphone licence with Microsoft – and the z100 handset it had spent two years developing.
The main reason, according to Sendo, was access to source code and the less restrictive attitude of Nokia, whose Series 60 platform it is licensing instead. “We never got the source code from Microsoft. From Nokia, we get the source code,” said Sendo’s senior communications manager Marleen van Lookeren Campagne.
As a result, Sendo was unable to build handsets sufficiently customised to the needs of different mobile operators.
When Sendo required changes to be made to Microsoft’s Smartphone 2002 operating system, it had to first ask permission from Microsoft, wait for that permission to be granted and then wait for Microsoft to make the requested changes.
This procedure was bureaucratic and time consuming, said van Lookeren Campagne. “They controlled an awful lot of things. There was a whole range things we could not touch or change,” she said.
Nokia’s licence is less restrictive, granting the company access to the source code and the right to make whatever changes it needs to the operating system, without having to ask Nokia for permission first.
However, there were many questions that van Lookeren Campagne could not answer “for legal reasons”, hinting at the possibility of a legal battle between the two companies.
Spain’s Telefonica had been lined up as the first customer for the z100, with Germany’s T-Mobile and Cingular Wireless in the US to follow. “We are in negotiations with all the operators at the moment,” she said.
However, Microsoft has brushed off the affair and emphasised the relationships it has forged with South Korean electronics giant Samsung – which also licenses both Series 60 and PalmSource’s PalmOS – and the Taiwanese contract manufacturers HTC and Compal. “We don’t see this as a major setback,” said Annemarie Duffy, mobility marketing manager in the mobile devices division of Microsoft.