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Wed 23 Sep 2009 01:44 PM

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i-mate CEO says troubles linked to 'major fraud'

UAE smart phone maker says still committed to trading despite financial problems.

The CEO of smart phone maker i-mate on Wednesday spoke out over the company's troubles in Dubai and insisted that the business and brand will continue to live on.

Employees at i-mate's Dubai operation were made aware of the company's financial plight earlier this month.

They were initially told to take compulsory unpaid leave, but last week i-mate's office in Dubai Internet City was closed and phones went unanswered.

Jim Morrison, who founded the device maker eight years ago, said the company had run into difficulties after uncovering a "major fraud" committed by a senior employee within the organisation.

Morrison said the fraud was discovered at the end of August and the case is now with the police.

"This all happened just before we were launching [a new device range]. We produced all the paperwork, we have the devices and so we have to sort this problem first," added Morrison.

He said the company was still committed to launching its new range of smart phone products and would offer new contracts to retailers if required.

Morrison said the situation had made it difficult for i-mate to pay staff on time and led to around 30 of its 40-strong workforce being laid off.

It is understood that some former employees are considering raising their dispute with local authorities, which Morrison admits would make it difficult for the company to do anything with its Dubai operation for now.

However, he insists that "everything about i-mate will continue".

He said: "We are keeping the brand, we are putting out products, and we will be looking for more funding of course. There is a lot of good stuff happening."

Morrison, who is currently in the UAE but is normally based in the US, said that it was still too early to say if the office in Dubai would eventually re-open.

However, he said the company still continues to operate in other markets around the world and would seek to maintain customer relationships in the region even if it meant serving the market from elsewhere.

i-mate is preparing to release a statement with further details this afternoon.

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denny 10 years ago

nothing to do with the fact that no-one buys iMate's any more then?

oz 10 years ago

well, Ive always laughed at the fact that i-mates are just rebranded goods by other manufacturers such as HTM.... why do you always call them 'manufacturers'... ??? another one bites the dust... and does anyone expect him to actually return.... hmmm ???

Mikhael 10 years ago

As a formerly happy i-mate customer (I owned 4 devices, from PocketPCs to Smartphones), all I can say is that things started to go wrong when i-mate shifted (or had to shift) the platform supplier from HTC to another OEM.

Anees 10 years ago

Having been infected by a phone craze, and being a person who changes the mobile every 6 - 8 months and carrying an imate and an HTC everyday, I still feel there are areas an Imate is better than an HTC.. though its just rebranded. Design wise I prefer my HTC Tytn to the 9502 but Imate scores on robustness. I havent come across a PDA that perfomes so well in speaker phone mode than my 9502 & HTC Tytn definitely scores poor there and HTC HD though better is not a practical option for a frequent mail user due to the immensely poor battery life, not that the other brands give way higher. And for some reason, my HTC hangs way more frequent than the Imate. Is it that HTC cannot handle well once you install additional softwares? Imate is a breeze with the same ones. What impressed me the most? The I-Mate phone support. Ever tried calling? You would be amazed. More brands in the market is good news for innovation so lets hope they dont just die out this way atleast.

Angelo 10 years ago

I had just finished reading the comments and thought - Did I miss something - I saw nothing regarding the credibility of the Equipment. I saw nothing about the I- Mate company ceasing to trade - What I did read however is that the local office has had to close because of "Fraud" that has affected their operations and is under Police Investigation and the fact this has come at a really bad time for the company since it is launching is new suite of applications. I hope the company continues to operate in Dubai and that the Police apprehend the miscreant who has jeopardized the livelihood the company's Dubai operation employee's and may the miscreant use his stay in the "Jumeirah Hilton" to reflect on his misdoings for many years