Home Industry Strategy Nokia takes control of Symbian

Nokia has taken control of the Symbian smartphone operating system from the Symbian Foundation, the body it set up two years ago after buying out other partners in Symbian and making the software open source.

Nokia has commited to keeping the platform open but the Foundation's role will be scaled back to that of a licensing body.

In a statement the Foundation said it would become a legal entity responsible for licensing software and other intellectual property, such as the Symbian trademark, and that "Nokia has committed to make the future development of the Symbian platform available to the ecosystem via an alternative direct and open model."

In a posting on Nokia's blog site, Nokia's senior vice president, smartphones, Jo Harlow, stressed the company's continuing commitment to Symbian, saying: "Do not confuse the end of the Foundation with the end of the Symbian platform.

"The Foundation has been very important in steering the platform through increasingly challenging waters, but the Foundation and the platform are not the same. Nokia has no intention to change the plans announced on the 21st October to continue to develop and evolve Symbian."

In a Nokia press release she said: "The changes announced by the foundation have no impact on Nokia's Symbian device roadmaps or shipping commitments. The platform powers hundreds of millions of smartphones - including our own - and we expect to deliver ongoing support and innovation benefitting the Symbian ecosystem in the future."

Nokia is keen to stress the success of Symbian, saying that some 400 million Symbian powered devices have been sold to date, 25 percent of these in the last 12 months, and that, by the end of 2010, it expects to have sold 50 million devices running the latest version of the OS, Symbian^3.

In that 21 October announcement Nokia said it would make Qt the development platform for both Symbian and MeeGo, internally and externally and would no longer issue discrete upgrades to the underlying Symbian OS, thus assuring developers that their apps would work on future devices and promising users that their devices would be upgradable to support future applications.

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Stuart Corner

 

Tracking the telecoms industry since 1989, Stuart has been awarded Journalist Of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (twice) and by the Service Providers Action Network. In 2010 he received the 'Kester' lifetime achievement award in the Consensus IT Writers Awards and was made a Lifetime Member of the Telecommunications Society of Australia. He was born in the UK, came to Australia in 1980 and has been here ever since.

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