Microsoft Asks Court to Dismiss Sendo Suit

Microsoft denies claims that it used Sendo's hardware expertise to undermine the cell phone company.

Software giant Microsoft Corp. this week requested that a federal court dismiss a lawsuit by British startup Sendo Ltd. that claimed Microsoft purposefully undermined the small cell phone company.

Filing a response to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Texarkana, Microsoft denied claims that it had a "secret plan" to use Sendos hardware expertise to establish new partnerships that would compete with Sendo and drive it to the brink of bankruptcy.

Sendo made these claims in a December lawsuit. At issue is the companys z100 phone, which initially was to be based on Microsofts Smartphone operating system but ultimately ended up using Nokia Corp.s Series 60 platform.

"Sendos development of the Z100 Smartphone failed not because of any Microsoft master or secret plan, but because of Sendos gross incompetence and lack of diligence in creating a competitive product," reads Microsofts motion to dismiss. "Microsoft poured millions of dollars and thousands of hours into the creation of the Z100 Smartphone, yet the project never bore fruit because Sendo devoted its attention and resources to the production of its other cell phone lines, and the few employees Sendo did devote to the Z100 were so disorganized and uninterested in the success of the project that it was doomed to failure."

Sendo, on the other hand, claims that the Z100 Smartphone never made it to market because Microsoft dragged its feet in supplying the operating system software for it.

Sendo was the first company to announce plans to support Microsofts Smartphone operating system, previously known as Stinger, more than two years ago. Microsoft took a minority stake in Sendo in 2001, and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates showed off the Z100 phone at several trade shows, promising that several operators had plans to sell it.

But last November, Sendo switched camps, announcing it had licensed Nokia Corp.s Series 60 platform for smart phones.

At the time officials said they chose Series 60 because it is "flexible" and uses industry-standard technology such as Java, but a month later the company sued Microsoft.