Motorola Solutions Moves Ahead With Psion Acquisition

Motorola Solutions on Friday acquired mobile computer maker Psion for US$200 million, as the company moves ahead to distinguish itself following the Motorola split last year.

Motorola Solutions offers rugged products including smartphones, tablets, while Psion sells enterprise mobility products such as organizers used in mostly in enterprises and vertical sectors. In early 2011 Motorola completed a split into Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility, which was acquired by Google for $12.5 billion in a deal that closed last month.

Psion is the second, and biggest, Motorola Solutions acquisition to date since the split and it will make the company stronger, said Gene Delaney, executive vice president of product and business operations at Motorola Solutions. Motorola Solutions acquired startup Rhomobile in October last year to boost its software portfolio.

"We see an opportunity to take the combined customer set," which should Motorola reach more vertical markets worldwide with a wider range of products, Delaney said.

Based in the U.K., Psion made a name for itself offering mobile computers since the 1980s, including the popular Psion Series of PDAs (personal digital assistants). The company recently made the news in 2009 for getting into a dispute with Intel on the netbook trademark, which was ultimately resolved. An out-of-court settlement allowed Intel to continue using the netbook name. But Psion's focus over the last few years has moved to enterprise products.

Psion will give Motorola Solutions a stronger presence in vertical sectors such as warehousing, and a strong presence in regions such as EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Delaney said.

The acquisition also signals a step ahead in Motorola Solutions' growing product strategy, which was well-defined at the time of the split. The company's focus is on rugged, industrial products with voice, push-to-talk and scanning capabilities, and is now developing a strategy around software developed in HTML5 that works across OSes.

The Motorola split was smooth for both Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility, Delaney said.

"The separation itself was well executed," he said. "Our customers felt no degradation whatsoever."

After completion of the acquisition, Psion will become part of Motorola Solutions' Enterprise Mobile Computing business. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012. The company did not talk about the potential impact on employees as a result of the acquisition, with officials saying decisions will be made after the acquisition is complete.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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