Psion considers Symbian stance

Psion considers Symbian stance
Richard Wilson Psion has hinted at a change of business strategy which will see the handheld computer firm putting greater importance on its Symbian mobile computing joint venture. However, company predictions that the cost of participating in Symbian will eat into this year’s profits worried investors last week. “During the current year there will be substantial costs arising at Symbian as the company continues to invest in the development of [its] EPOC [operating system],” commented David Potter, Psion’s chairman. However, Potter made no secret of the fact that he sees 1999 as a period of investment in Symbian, which he believes will ultimately have “momentous” potential for Psion. “We have positioned Symbian as the potential world leader in operating systems for mobile devices which access data through telecommunications networks,” said Potter. Symbian is a joint venture with Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola, and company CEO Colly Myers told Electronics Weekly that first products will emerge from the venture at the end of the year at the earliest. Psion’s traditional business in handheld computers and organisers had a difficult year due in part to the growing threat from competitor products such as 3Com’s Palm Pilot. The company claimed its Series 5 organiser retained a strong market position in Europe. Psion’s underlying pre-tax profits rose slightly in 1998 to ?11.9m on sales 13 per cent higher at ?159.9m.


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