Nokia to license components, software to other handset makers

Tuesday, November 13th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HELSINKI, Finland (AP) _ Nokia, the world's largest cell phone maker, will license parts of its software and components to other handset manufacturers to help create a common technology in the mobile phone industry.

The technology provides the possibility of multimedia messaging, connections to the Internet and downloading from Web sites into mobile phones.

Nokia also said it is licensing a platform that runs on top of the Symbian operating system, which is used by over 70 percent of the mobile phone market.

It's part of an industrywide initiative aimed at enabling manufacturers to offer services that are compatible with most mobile phones and various telecommunications networks.

``The key stakeholders will work together to create an open mobile services market,'' said Pertti Korhonen, senior vice president of Nokia's mobile software unit.

Nokia named 15 partners, including its chief rivals, Motorola and Sony Ericsson, as having ``introduced an initiative committing to create a global and open mobile software and services market.''

The market welcomed the announcements, which were made late Monday at the Comdex technology show in Las Vegas. Nokia's share price closed Tuesday up 7.8 percent, at 26.49 euros (dlrs 23.60).

``This is big news. When the protocols are the same, everyone benefits _ the operators, the manufacturers and in the end the customers too,'' said Erkki Vesala, an information technology analyst at Leonia Bank in Helsinki. ``It's a big plus for everyone, especially if it's well carried out.''

Nokia also said it will provide the source code for its mobile Internet browser and advanced text messaging technology to South Korean handset manufacturer Samsung Electronics.

The decisions come during a global downturn that has hit the industry and amid fears that numerous and incompatible new technologies will have a further negative effect.

Markets also are still waiting for the introduction of super-fast third-generation mobile phones, which will connect faster and more efficiently to the Internet.

Nokia's headquarters are in Espoo, just outside the capital, Helsinki. It has more than 56,000 employees and sales in 130 countries. Its net profit last year was 3.9 billion euros (dlrs 3.5 billion) on net sales of 30.4 billion euros (dlrs 27 billion).