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Wednesday, June 24, 1998 Published at 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK

Business: The Company File

Mobile giants team up against Microsoft

Psion leads the field in hand-held computing solutions

Two giants of the mobile phone industry, Ericsson and Nokia, have bought a 60% share in part of Psion, the British company that pioneered the palm top computer.

The deal centres on Psion's software division and its Epoc operating system and comes as a blow to Microsoft, which is pushing to introduce its Windows CE software into the mobile communications market.

Psion will retain a 40% stake in its software division, renamed Symbian in the 32m deal designed to set a new industry wide standard for the growing mobile communications market.

Motorola says it will join Symbian in due course and other global technology players will be invited to become shareholders in the future.

[ image: Nokia says molbile phone use will more than double by 2000]
Nokia says molbile phone use will more than double by 2000
Symbian will concentrate on developing the use of Psion's "Epoc" software in new forms of mobile communication.

"Symbian is the start of a new co-operative approach between the world's leading innovators in the mobile voice and data market," Symbian's chief executive, Colly Myers, said in a statement.

"We plan to establish Epoc as the de facto operating system for mobile wireless information devices and further drive innovation and market growth," he added.

Mobile phones power ahead

Nokia also said it expected the number of mobile phone subscribers worldwide to grow to about 500m in 2000, and Ericsson has said the number of subsribers could increase fourfold to more than 830m by 2003.

Nokia said in its 1997 annual report there were about 200m cellular subscribers globally at the end of 1997.

It said in the annual report that at the end of 1997, about 35% of mobile phone users were based in the Americas, 30% in Europe, 15% in Japan and 20% in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.

Psion shares soared 96p on the news to 377p.

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