Feeds

Nokia grabs control of Symbian, downsizes Foundation

Phut goes the ecosystem

Boost IT visibility and business value

Nokia is taking over the governance of Symbian, leaving the non-profit Foundation as a vestigial organisation in name only.

Around 75 of 100 jobs will be lost, we understand, as the Foundation becomes an entity devoted to licensing IP.

In a press release the Foundation's CEO Tim Holbrow, brought in after the sudden departure of Lee Williams last month, acknowledged a "seismic change in the mobile market but also more generally in the economy, which has led to a change in focus for some of our funding board members.

"The result of this is that the current governance structure for the Symbian platform – the foundation - is no longer appropriate."

Nokia talked about a new "open model" for the source code today - but it remains to be seen exactly what this will mean. The decision was blessed at a board meeting in Amsterdam today, where the 11th annual Symbian developer event is taking place, albeit in much more modest circumstances.

The Register understands the Foundation, even in its diminished form, may not live on much past April 2011.

Nokia acquired Symbian, then employing around 1,200 staff, in 2008 and devotes 4,000 people to the system. But in the hope of attracting more licensees, Nokia devolved licensing and governance issues to a jointly-owned nonprofit organisation, the Symbian Foundation. With key supporters such as Samsung and Sony Ericsson declining to use the OS or back the Foundation financially this year, it had little else to do.

Symbian developers will revert to consulting Forum Nokia for technical information - just as they did two years ago before the ill-fated Foundation was set up. Nokia's handling of Symbian has been one of its most catastrophic errors - open sourcing the code wasted two years as lawyers picked through the code, just as the smartphone market became mainstream. By the time the code was ready, it was no longer competitive.

Symbian likes to use the treehuggy phrase "ecosystem" instead of "economy" to describe the activity around the OS. It's evidently not an economy. But even "ecosystem" implies it has some sort of life. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.