Vertu, luxury phone maker, bites the dust

Vertu, the "luxury" cellphone maker whose handsets look like drug cartel handguns and are always comically obsolete, went out of business last month, reports the BBC. It is to auction off its inventory. Bids start at $26,000.

Thuy Ong:

The auctioneer, G J Wisdom & Co, says the phones are a mix of concept models to fully functional ones, so some are not operational. The owner of Vertu failed to rescue the company from bankruptcy after offering to pay creditors just £1.9 million ($2.4 million) of the firm’s £128 million debt. Some handsets were sold for $30,000 in the company’s heyday, and offered 24/7 concierge services as part of the handset’s price. Just a year ago, the phone maker released its “cheapest” trio of handsets at $4,200 a pop — though they ran on two-year-old chips.

Vertu was founded as Nokia's prestige marque, sold off by its parent, and is now remembered as a "UK tech jewel." Golden pocket Deloreans with $200 usb cables and no-where to stash the coke.

If you want an example of the delusional esteem in which some British pundits held the company, read The Financial Times' corporate obituary for it. They think they've just witnessed the death of the Leica of cellphones.

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