The Sendo Papers: Microsoft's Master Plan


The Reg UK just published a long and incredibly interesting article about Sendo's 27 page filing in Texas against Microsoft and their failed partnership to launch the Sendo Smartphone.

Some snippets from the article, you can really see how Microsoft works. Super slimey:

... summer comes, and the code isn't ready. It isn't ready in the autumn, either, and this starts to play hell with Sendo's budgets. December rolls round, and according to Sendo, bugfixes that carriers have requested are being refused by Microsoft. Sendo is in a cash crisis, and a call to VCs is spurned. So Sendo asks Microsoft for a further cash injection, which is declined:-

"Microsoft refused with the full knowledge that this refusal would push Sendo to insolvency", claims Sendo in the filing.

How did it know? Well, meet Marc Brown, who was by now acting in his capacity as a Sendo board member while continuing his day job as the director of Microsoft's corporate development and strategy group.


"Under the SDMA, in the event of a Sendo bankruptcy, Microsoft would obtain an irrevocable, royalty free license to use Sendo's Z100 intellectual property, including rights to make, use, or copy the Sendo Smartphone to create other to create other Smartphones and to, most importantly for Microsoft, sublicense those rights to third parties."

And that's the crux of the case.

Sendo's description of a "master plan" to rob it of its secrets might look like paranoid nonsense, were it not for the fact that in that SDMA, Sendo's demise was in foretold. Microsoft had far more to gain than it had to lose by seeing its partner fall.

Basically Microsoft was desperate to sign on an OEM for it's Smartphone and got Sendo on board by investing in them and promising that they would be a launch partner. However, Microsoft then used the industry knowledge garnered from Sendo and the deal itself to go out and recruit other manufacturers like Orange. When that was done, Microsoft did what they needed to do to screw Sendo. They delayed code for a year, demanded technical information and more - all with the inside scoop because they had a member on the board.

Amazing. Though I believe everything Sendo says from their point of view, I don't feel bad for them at all. If you deal with the devil you're going to get burned. But this is just another way that Microsoft is just evil as hell.

These Smartphones look good and are probably no less buggy than Symbian. I really hope that Nokia and Symbian can get their act in gear and use their small head start to their advantage, because the Juggernaut has begun to roll...


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