Amidst the hubbub over MacWorld 2009, El Reg quietly noted that the company UIQ, the joint venture of Sony Ericsson and Motorola and eponymous creator of the UIQ interface layer for the Symbian smartphone OS, has filed for bankruptcy in the Swedish courts.
This is a not unexpected turn of events seeing as the staff members were put on notice in November. Numerous factors conspired to create this turn of events: First, Nokia bought out all shares of Symbian and created the open-source Symbian Foundation, which aims to incorporate the best bits of Nokia’s S60 platform, UIQ and the Japanese MOAP. As the second article notes, “realistically, that means co-opting interesting features into the next version of S60 – leaving MOAP and UIQ developers in the cold.”.
Meanwhile, Motorola completely backed out of its 11-phone commitment for 2009, and with Sony Ericsson (historically UIQ’s primary benefactor) turning to Windows Mobile for its latest flagship smartphone the X1, the writing was on the wall. In addition to the news coverage, El Reg provides an in-depth look at UIQ’s history, what made UIQ so special and what went wrong.
On a personal note, I am a very happy UIQ3 user (on a Sony Ericsson P1i), and I plan to cherish this obsolete ultimate culmination of UIQ development for some time to come. Here’s to the developers who made it happen; hopefully they find new employment soon.