After receiving a rather large dose of funding and becoming known as SYMBEOSE, some thought that the Symbian Foundation as we know it would be going the way of the Dodo. Today we know that that's not the case, although big things are in store for the non-profit organization. The Symbian Foundation has decided that it will begin transitioning into a legal entity that is only responsible for licensing software and other IP, like the Symbian brand. Development of the Symbian platform won't stop though, as Nokia will take over those duties. The first step in the Symbian Foundation's transition will involve cutting staff and reducing operations and, by April 2011, the change should be complete. Check out the full press release down below.
Considering that Symbian is still the king when it comes to worldwide market share, it's probably a good thing that Nokia is going to keep development of the platform going. However, with the company's involvement with MeeGo and their plans to launch a MeeGo-powered device next year (like the N9), I'm not sure how much attention Symbian is going to get from the Finnish manufacturer. Still, considering that as of Q3 2010 there were 400 million Symbian devices shipped, 100 million of which came between Q3 2009 and Q3 2010, it's obvious that the OS isn't going to completely disappear any time soon.
SYMBIAN FOUNDATION TO TRANSITION TO A LICENSING OPERATION
Nokia commits to make the Symbian platform available under an alternative open model
AMSTERDAM, SYMBIAN EXCHANGE & EXPOSITION (SEE), NOVEMBER 8, 2010 – Following a strategy review, the board of the Symbian Foundation has today decided to transition the role of the non-profit organisation. The foundation will become a legal entity responsible for licensing software and other intellectual property, such as the Symbian trademark. Nokia has committed to make the future development of the Symbian platform available to the ecosystem via an alternative direct and open model.
“The founding board members took a bold strategic step in setting up the foundation, which was absolutely the right decision at the time,” says Tim Holbrow, executive director, Symbian Foundation. “There has since been 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.
“However, the platform enjoys strong support from some of the largest and most innovative device creators in the world. And we continue to see solid momentum behind the platform, with 25 percent of all Symbian-based devices shipping in the last 12 months.*
“I’m immensely proud of the work we’ve done at the Symbian Foundation. Perhaps most notably, in the last year we’ve delivered the biggest open source project ever in releasing the entire Symbian codebase under an open source license, and we did it four months ahead of schedule.”
The first phase of the foundation’s transition will involve a reduction in operations and staff numbers. By April 2011, the Symbian Foundation will be governed by a group of non-executive directors tasked with overseeing the organisation’s licensing function.
“Nokia remains committed to Symbian as the most used smartphone platform around the world,” said Jo Harlow, senior vice president, Smartphones, Nokia. “The Nokia N8 generated the highest online pre-orders we’ve ever experienced and we have a family of Symbian^3 smartphones including the Nokia N8, Nokia C7, and Nokia C6-01 which are available now, as well as the Nokia E7 which is expected to ship before the end of 2010. Nokia expects to sell more than 50 million Symbian^3 smartphones.”
The Symbian Foundation leadership team will work together with Nokia to ensure that the reduction in operations of the foundation will bring as little disruption to the ecosystem as possible. Further details of this process will be shared at a later date.
Today’s announcement does not affect the Symbian Exchange & Exposition (SEE 2010), which will commence on November 9th in Amsterdam. SEE 2010 will bring together attendees from over 55 countries to engage, exchange and explore opportunities offered by the Symbian platform. For more information about the event, visit www.see2010.org.