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Newest challenger to iOS and Android software dies before leaving the gate

Acadine Technologies, a startup trying to give phone users a software alternative to the dominant powers of Google and Apple, is on its last legs.

With no new funding in hand, last month's warnings of possible layoffs at Acadine are materializing. The company's entire engineering staff will lose their jobs this week. In addition, the Hong Kong-based startup is warning business partners it is ceasing work for now on its H5OS mobile operating system.

"Due to an unforeseen situation, where we did not receive the funding that was contractually committed to us, all engineering work on H5OS will be suspended at Acadine immediately," the company told business partners such as mobile phone chipmaker Qualcomm over the weekend. "This is a very unfortunate situation that we have not been able to find a way to avoid. We deeply appreciate all your support for us in the past 12 months."

Think of it as the second death of the Firefox OS. Executives from Acadine had left Mozilla, best known for the Firefox browser, to build a variation of the operating system with the hopes that it could power smartwatches and lower-end phones. Acadine hoped to build an alternative to potentially loosen Apple's and Google's grip on the market -- even though most people seem happy with their iPhones and Android devices.

As Apple and Google accumulate power, though, it's harder for customers, app programmers and business partners to try something different. In principle, Acadine's Web-based technology offers more openness when it comes to items like writing apps, choosing messaging tools and distributing music and video.

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