Sendo was a British manufacturer and supplier of mobile phones founded in 1998 and based in Birmingham. The company went into administration in June 2005 and its technology was bought by Motorola.
The company specialised in low-cost handsets aimed primarily at the pay-as-you-go markets and also high-end Symbian smartphones.
Sendo was created in 1999 by mobile phone experts from Philips and Motorola. In February 2001, Microsoft announced a partnership, in which Microsoft bought $12m of Sendo shares (10%) and a seat on the board. Sendo was to be Microsoft’s “go to market partner” for the Stinger smartphone platform that became Smartphone 2002.
Microsoft was to deliver code for the StingerOS by June and the first prototype, the Sendo Z100, was delivered. Sendo manage to ship an SDK, but by December not enough code had been delivered by Microsoft and, without any products to sell, Sendo couldn’t raise any money from sales or venture capitalists. Sendo dropped Microsoft and opted to go with Symbian but eventually went bankrupt.
Under the deal, if Sendo was declared insolvent “Microsoft would obtain an irrevocable, royalty free licence to use Sendo’s Z100 intellectual property, including rights to make, use, or copy the Sendo Smartphone to create other Smartphones and to, most importantly for Microsoft, sublicense those rights to third parties.” A product based on the Sendo Z100 was released while Sendo was still solvent by Orange as the Orange SPV 100, manufactured by HTC as the HTC Canary, the first Windows Mobile smartphone.
As a consequence Sendo sued Microsoft in December 2002, alleging it stole proprietary technology and trade secrets and gave these to HTC enabling HTC and itself to launch into the mobile phone market.
Microsoft denied the allegations and in February 2003 filed a counter suit alleging breach of contract. A trial was scheduled for early 2005 but an out of court settlement was reached in September 2004, in which there was a “monetary component” and Microsoft giving up its stake of Sendo. In June 2006 Sendo then sued Orange.
In September 2003, Microsoft and Sendo dropped their suits and announced that Microsoft gave up shares in Sendo.
In 2004, Sendo sold 5 million devices and was mentioned with some other major mobile phone manufacturers showing interest in using Nvidia’s GoForce graphic chips.
In March 2005, Sendo object by the European Commission against Ericsson about their patent and licence management after being sued.
At the time Motorola overtook the developers and their patents, they held 50 valid patents and had 40 waiting for approval.