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Nokia to Acquire Symbian and Go "Open"

By Stuart Carlaw, Vice President and Research Director, Mobile Wireless

Big news broke today when Nokia announced that it will purchase the remaining stock it doesn't own in Symbian and then migrate the solution to an "Open" platform. Anyone that has followed the Symbian environment for long enough would see that there has been financial pressure on Nokia to move in this direction at some point.

The sheer economics of the number of devices it ships with the OS versus the value it gets out of its historic shareholding clearly indicated that such a purchase was inevitable at some point.The real added spice in this announcement is that Nokia is openly stating that it will offer the OS in a more "open" way. As the press release from Nokia stated, "A full platform will be available for all Foundation members under a royalty-free license, from the Foundation's first day of operations.

Contributions from Foundation members through open collaboration will be integrated to further enhance the platform. The Foundation will make selected components available as open source at launch. It will then work to establish the most complete mobile software offering available in open source. This will be made available over the next two years and is intended to be released under Eclipse Public License (EPL) 1.0.

"Perhaps this is an open admission that the pressure from the Linux industry is really forcing Nokia and Symbian to change their game. Questions remain as to whether the solution will be truly open and what the cost of a foundation membership will be, but one things is for sure, it is refreshing to see Nokia showing real agility and vision, and it will change the landscape significantly. [ABI Research]

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