PARIS " Ericsson is pulling the plug on its technology licensing unit, the wholly-owned subsidiary which invented Bluetooth wireless technology and became the driving force behind the company's Bluetooth initiative.
According to Johan Akesson, vice president of marketing for Ericsson Technology Platform, "Ericsson is not pulling back from Bluetooth." He said Ericsson will continue Bluetooth software technology development through Ericsson Mobile Platforms, another subsidiary. Ericsson will also form a small, dedicated Bluetooth unit to maintain its current customers.
It will, however, discontinue its design and development of new Bluetooth products for the semiconductor industry.
The company spun off Ericsson Technology Licensing in 2000. Of its 125 employees, Akesson said 100 were working in R&D. They represented the core of Ericsson's original Bluetooth technology development team.
No layoffs are planned, said Akesson. "Most of them will find new jobs within Ericsson."
Although Ericsson will continue its involvement in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group as a promoter of the technology, Akesson said, "We will no longer develop new hardware or new IPs based on the Bluetooth specification." Ericsson also won't pursue new chip customers for Bluetooth technology licensing.
Ericsson's decision comes as the Bluetooth standard has reached a mature state, and Bluetooth products are available in volume. "Even though large volumes are manufactured, we've found that the long-term business case for Ericsson Technology Licensing is not strong enough," Akesson said.
The reorganization will be completed by the end of the year.