Fujitsu and Toshiba have agreed to merge their mobile phone divisions in an efficiency drive.
In a statement on Thursday, the two companies said they had signed a memorandum of understanding to merge the divisions. They said they hoped the merger would make them "the number one provider of mobile phones in Japan". The number one spot is currently occupied by Sharp.
In terms of mobile phone manufacturing, Toshiba is the better known of the two companies in the UK, being the company behind the TG01 and TG02 Windows Mobile handsets. In Japan, however, Fujitsu is a major supplier of phones to the operator NTT DoCoMo. Fujitsu also has a sizeable intellectual property portfolio in the field, including software, biometrics and sensor technologies.
According to a statement on Thursday, Fujitsu and Toshiba "intend on enhancing their handset development capabilities and at the same time improving business efficiency".
The plan is to sign a final contract at the end of July. Toshiba's mobile phone business will be transferred to a new, as-yet-unnamed company that will be established on 1 October, and Fujitsu will acquire a majority stake in that company.
The move continues a close relationship between the two companies. In 2009, Fujitsu transferred its hard drive business to a new Toshiba subsidiary.