Microsoft yesterday filed a countersuit against Sendo, after the mobile phone developer alleged Microsoft had used a Smartphone partnership with it to "plunder" Sendo's intellectual property.
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Microsoft charged that Sendo "diverted human and financial resources from its work on the Microsoft Smartphone to design and develop a rival Smartphone, the Nokia Series 60".
The software giant said Sendo made an internal decision last autumn to "abandon or de-emphasise" work on the Microsoft Smartphone in favour of the Nokia phone and, as a result, "Sendo's development of the Microsoft Z100 Smartphone continued to languish, and Sendo failed to meet milestones set forth in the agreements [with Microsoft] and other contractual obligations."
Microsoft also dismissed what it called Sendo's "fanciful and unfounded allegations" of a secret plan by the software maker to harm Sendo, claiming Sendo repeatedly misled it about progress on the Z100 Smartphone and its financial condition so "Microsoft would continue to provide finding to Sendo".
"Microsoft has great respect for the intellectual property of our partners and competitors. We had hoped to partner with Sendo to bring the Z100 Smartphone to market and had every intention of doing so until the company ultimately broke the Strategic Marketing and Development Agreement in favour of supporting another project," Microsoft spokesman Jon Murchison said.
"Microsoft's efforts to forge a positive partnership included sending developers to work at Sendo's UK headquarters, making strategic business introductions for Sendo and investing in the company."
Murchison noted that in its court filing, Microsoft said it had received an unsolicited communication from a Sendo employee describing the Z100 project as a "a runaway train" in which "there is nobody sensible in control, and a train wreck is unavoidable".
Sendo spokeswoman Marljke van Hooren said it was difficult to respond to allegations supposedly made by an unidentified employee. She added that Sendo did not begin work on the Nokia 60 phone until after the company had terminated its agreement with Microsoft in November.
Hooren also called Microsoft's motion to move the legal action to a court in Washington state a "litigation-delaying" tactic.