BenQ / Siemens fallout continues
collapse of BenQ's "BenQ-Siemens" mobile
business in Europe took a new twist yesterday when Siemens
created a €35 million fund for ex Siemens Mobile staff
and announced that it was considering its legal position
with regards to the BenQ-Siemens tie-up.
The €35 million figure includes a €5
million contribution that the Siemens board had
awarded itself on the back of very strong growth of
the Siemens business - in effect, the Siemens board
of directors have stated that they will give up their
pay rise to help their former employees. Around three
thousand former Siemens employees are threatened with
losing their jobs.
Siemens CEO, Klaus Kleinfeld was forthright
in his opinion about BenQ: "We consider the actions
of BenQ reprehensible, and we’re going to do everything
we can to help the people affected," he said.
The terms of the original BenQ
/ Siemens deal in 2005 were unusual - essentially
Siemens disposed of their entire mobile business and
handed over a sum of money to BenQ in order to guarantee
the continuation of the business. In addition, Siemens
handed over a large number of patents and allowed the
use of the Siemens name. Siemens are now claiming
that "BenQ did not carry out its intentions with
the seriousness with which these were represented to
Siemens". It would have been much cheaper for Siemens
to simply close the business, rather than transfer it
to BenQ with the dowry.
Furthermore, we understand that Siemens
is examining its legal position over the transfer of
the patents to BenQ, and will almost definitely insist
that BenQ cease using the "Siemens" name in
any of its products. Siemens also made its position
over the closure of BenQ Mobile's German operations
clear - "the suggestion that we have been prepared
to accept the bankruptcy of BenQ Mobile in Germany is
pure slander" said the Siemens CEO.
This is a quite astonishing end to one
of the best known European mobile handset manufacturers.
Not only will this be the end of the short-lived BenQ-Siemens
brand and the Siemens Mobile legacy, but it is unlikely
that BenQ will be able to sustain any kind of mobile
handset business in the future if Siemens moves against
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