Kamis, 26 Juni 2008

On Tuesday, Nokia not only moved to acquire Symbian for $410 million, it also partnered with mobile-industry giants to launch a foundation to provide royalty-free software and accelerate innovation.

Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and NTT DoCoMo said they intend to unite the flavors of Symbian and create a single, open mobile-software platform. Together with AT&T, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone, the mobile giants are establishing the Symbian Foundation.

Nokia will make the foundation possible by acquiring the remaining shares of Symbian Limited that it doesnt already own, then contributing its Symbian and S60 software to the foundation. Sony Ericsson and Motorola will contribute technology from UIQ, and DOCOMO has indicated its willingness to contribute its MOAP(S) assets. This lays the groundwork for a platform with a common framework and a royalty-free license.

"Ten years ago, Symbian was established by farsighted players to offer an advanced open operating system and software skills to the whole mobile industry," said Nigel Clifford, CEO of Symbian. "Our vision is to become the most widely used software platform on the planet and, indeed, today Symbian OS leads its market by any measure."


Contributions from foundation members 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 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.

Symbian powers more than 200 million phones across 235 models offered by multiple vendors. Tens of thousands of third-party applications are already available for Symbian-based devices.

"Establishing the foundation is one of the biggest contributions to an open community ever made," said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokias CEO. "Nokia is a strong supporter of open platforms and technologies, as they give the freedom to build, maintain and evolve applications and services across device segments and offer by far the largest ecosystem, enabling rapid innovation."


With the foundation established, analysts are anticipating pricing issues for companies like Microsoft and its Windows Mobile platform, which relies on royalty revenues. An influx of open-source, royalty-free software could force competing companies to revisit pricing models to maintain their competitive strength, according to Tim Deal, a senior analyst at Pike & Fischer.

"The Symbian Foundation represents an opportunity for third-party developers to innovate and build upon the Symbian software core to create third-party applications that will increase the value and create more powerful ecosystem-based handsets," Deal said.

Deal sees the foundation as a possible model for U.S. mobile-software providers. Instead of companies like Apple, Research in Motion, and Microsoft battling to introduce new features and fluff, he said, the market could see opportunities for mobile-platform developers to pull together and work on innovations to benefit all players.

"Smartphones are definitely going to play a key role in the future of computing. With the rapid expansion of wireless data networks and WiMAX and 4G networks, the opportunities for people to avail themselves of rapid data communication and rich media over smartphones is just going to become greater and greater," Deal said. "The industry needs to come together and meet the developing needs or help drive that innovation moving forward."


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