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NTT DoCoMo spurns Windows for 3G

Hi-diddle-dee-dee (Symbian, Linux for me)

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Japanese mobile giant NTT DoCoMo has dealt a blow to Microsoft Windows Mobile by excluding the operating system from its 3G strategy and saying it will recommend Symbian and Linux to its handset partners.

DoCoMo has huge influence on the Japanese market, where operators have much greater input into the design choices of their phone suppliers than in the west. The endorsement of Symbian will give a major boost to the operating system, which has been seen as being too European in focus.

DoCoMo's president, Keiji Tachikawa, said that it needs to reduce the development and production costs of new handsets for its FOMA 3G service, and this will be aided by supporting open platforms and reducing the number of operating system variants it backs.

The operator has been growing increasingly close to Symbian and sells Fujitsu handsets based on the OS on its 3G network. In September it said it would work with Symbian to create a standard user interface and service platform for the OS on FOMA handsets.

Some of Symbian's licensees were said to be concerned that DoCoMo would gain too much influence over the design of the operating system, especially if it adopted it as its only 3G platform. However, it has not gone this far, mainly because of the growing strength of Linux in several Asian countries, notably China. It is likely that DoCoMo will develop its own Linux variant, in line with its tradition of investing heavily in R&D to create differentiated technologies that it can then pass on to its handset makers.

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Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.

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