Ericsson yanks Bluetooth development

Brief: Bluetooth's inventor shuts down division that developed the standard

Ericsson, inventor and chief proponent of Bluetooth, has closed its technology licensing unit and ceased chip and protocol development on the standard, according to a report in industry newspaper EETimes.

Johan Åkesson, vice president of marketing for Ericsson Technology Platform, is reported as saying "We will no longer develop new hardware or new IPs based on the Bluetooth specification". Ericsson Mobile Platforms, another subsidiary, will continue software development while a new dedicated unit will support existing customers. "Ericsson is not pulling back from Bluetooth", Åkesson said.

The company will remain a member of the Bluetooth special interest group, which also includes Agere IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia and Toshiba. The report said that although Bluetooth was a high volume product, it was mature and the available licence revenue was insufficient for Ericsson to continue with its 125-strong division which originated the standard and was later devoted to licence fee generation. There are no lay-offs planned.

Launched in 1998, the Bluetooth standard was for a while the only low-power consumer wireless data standard but both ultrawideband and Zigbee are now moving into that role.