Nokia Buys Symbian, Possible Google Android Delays
Seemingly in a response to growing competition from Apple and Google, Nokia is buying out Symbian Ltd and will open its mobile operating system for royalty free use. Nokia will pay $410 million to buy the remaining 52% share of the company that it does not already own and establish the Symbian Foundation:
"This is a significant milestone in our software strategy" said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of Nokia. "Symbian is already the leading open platform for mobile devices. Through this acquisition and the establishment of the Symbian Foundation, it will undisputedly be the most attractive platform for mobile innovation. This will drive the development of new and compelling, web-enabled applications to delight a new generation of consumers."
The Symbian Foundation is a non-profit organization that will open source the Symbian operating system to bring "innovation to the platform" and to engage a broader community. Symbian Ltd was originally formed in partnership with Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola and Psion in 1998. Since then, Symbian's mobile operating system has grown to power two thirds of all existing smart phones and 6% of all phones worldwide.
The move seems to clearly be in response to Google's Android initiative which similarly offers an open platform for upcoming mobile phones. Yesterday, a report claimed that we would not see the first Android phones until the 4th quarter of this year, due to carrier delays. As well, Apple's plans to launch their App Store and promoting their new mobile development platform likely also played a factor in Nokia's decision.
Apple will be launching the App Store alongside the iPhone 2.0 Firmware update in "early July".