Microsoft and UK phone-maker Sendo announced today that they have reached a settlement in their intellectual property rights theft lawsuit. As a result, Sendo dropped all charges against the software giant. Although the companies haven't revealed details of the settlement terms, a Sendo representative said that the company is "extremely pleased with the terms" of the deal.
Sendo sued Microsoft in late 2002 after discovering that Microsoft had given Sendo's design for a Windows Mobile-Powered Smartphone to competitors in Southeast Asia. Sendo created the first working Smartphone device and was originally going to be the first company to produce one for customers. However, after the company found out that Microsoft was shopping around to its competitors the design and other intellectual property, Sendo bailed and severed all ties with Microsoft. Not coincidentally, the first phone makers to sell Windows Mobile-Powered Smartphones were tiny Southeast Asian firms no one had ever heard of. "Microsoft provided Sendo's proprietary hardware expertise and trade secrets to low-cost \[OEMs\] who would not otherwise have had the expertise to manufacture handsets that would use \[Windows Mobile software\] and used Sendo's carrier-customer relationships to establish its own contractual relationships," a Sendo legal filing from late 2002 stated.
Currently, only a few details of the settlement are known. First, Microsoft will return its 4 percent shareholding in Sendo to the phone maker. Second, both parties deny any and all liability. Presumably, Microsoft made a large cash payout to Sendo; if so, details of that payout will be revealed at a later date. "We're pleased with this resolution and look forward to continuing to collaborate with phone manufacturers to bring innovative products to mobile customers," Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Tom Burt said.