Psion shares leap as trio pitch in for mobile push

Psion shares leap as trio pitch in for mobile push
Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola join Psion for joint move on mobile information arena. Alex Mayhew-Smith Three major mobile phone manufacturers have pitched in with Psion to produce the next generation of palmtop computers and mobile phones. The joint venture, known as Symbian, is made up of Psion, Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola and will place the UK organiser firm at the heart of the mobile information devices market. There are great expectations of Symbian in the City and it has already been labelled as a possible challenger to Microsoft. Shares in Psion, which will have the largest stake in Symbian, leapt 143 per cent to 607p after the announcement. Symbian will use Psion’s EPOC software as a platform for its products and Psion’s software subsidiary will become Symbian’s development backbone. The backing provided by the mobile phone companies will allow EPOC to compete with Microsoft’s CE platform for personal organisers. “We are assembling the forces and assets to deliver a standard,” said Colly Myers, Symbian’s CEO and previously Psion’s group MD. However, Symbian does not see any direct competition, claiming that there is a new market with no established industry standard. “Once you are in a mobile environment you don’t need a Windows compatible platform,” said Stephen Randall, Symbian’s chief operations officer. The company’s first products will be available as soon as 1999 and will include phone, fax and computer – supporting e-mail and internet – in a single device. Psion will have a 40 per cent stake in Symbian with Nokia and Ericsson holding 30 per cent each. Motorola joined the partnership at the last minute and its share is yet to be announced.


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