Ford, Qualcomm dissolve telematics joint venture

Ford Motor Co. and wireless technology company Qualcomm Inc. have clipped the wings of their joint venture launched in 2000 to develop wireless data services for vehicles, according to a statement yesterday from Qualcomm.

Wingcast LLC, which was developing so-called telematics technology and services, has been dissolved, said San Diego-based Qualcomm.

Ford said in the statement that it's still committed to bringing telematics to its vehicles. However, the automaker said it does "not believe it is necessary to have equity interest in a telematics service provider in order to meet that goal."

The San Diego-based joint venture was formed in part to compete against General Motors Corp., which launched its own telematics venture, Troy, Mich.-based OnStar Corp. Ford owned about 85% of the Wingcast venture, and Qualcomm held the remaining 15%.

Ford has provided the sole source of funding for Wingcast since May 2001, according to the statement. Prior to that, Qualcomm invested $25 million in the venture in exchange for its minority stake. Qualcomm said it has lost about $14 million related to its equity investment and is expected to take a write-down of another $11 million in its third-quarter financial results as a result of Wingcast's closure.

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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