Attention everybody at UIQ, you are all fired.
With Sony Ericsson's and Motorola's decision to stop using the UIQ platform in future products the long term future of UIQ Technology, the company behind the platform, was thrown into doubt. As things currently stand the long term future of the company is not secure. As a result, yesterday, its remaining 270 employees were put on notice of dismissal. However Sony Ericsson has agreed to continue funding the company on a by month by month basis in order to allow the company to investigate options for the future.
Following on from a board meeting on Wednesday the staff were given the news on Thursday. Originally it was feared that the UIQ Technology's activities might have to cease with immediate effect, but Sony Ericsson is allowing for a transition period. Motorola, UIQ Technology's other share holder is not involved.
Sony Ericsson has made no specific commitment to the time for which it will continue to fund UIQ Technology, but it is likely to be only long enough to explore realistic options for the future. These may include acquisition by a third party (in whole or in part) or internal projects leading to restructuring of the company. There are also plans to assist staff in future endeavours; both those seeking new employment with existing companies and those who wish to start their own companies.
The people making up UIQ are a very valuable asset and have a great deal of experience and specialist expertise both collectively and individually. Given the relative shortage of experienced engineers in the Symbian ecosystem this could be a good opportunity for companies looking for people with expertise in usability design and software development.
UIQ Technology's offices are part of Ronneby's Soft Center, an ITC focused business park and incubator associated with the local technical university. It seems reasonable that several start ups could emerge from UIQ Technology.
This news essentially heralds the end point of the UIQ platform. While it was, perhaps, an inevitable result of the formation Symbian Foundation, it has concluded with a somewhat surprising degree of speed. Both Sony Ericsson and Motorola have dropped a number of UIQ phones that were in development with anticipated release dates in 2008 and 2009.
We'll be reflecting on the story of UIQ in more detail in a future article.
Sources: UIQ Technology, BLT.se