Nokia is to buy out rival manufacturers’ combined 52 per cent stake in software firm Symbian for €264 million to establish a new open standard operating system for use in mobile phones.
Nokia wants incumbent manufacturers to pool their software expertise in the newly formed Symbian Foundation to create a platform standard for use in all phone models, replacing Symbian’s current series 60 and UIQ systems.
The initiative will mean handset manufacturers differentiate at device level only.
The move is another step in Nokia’s bid to set up as a software company as well as a straight handset manufacturer.
Nokia chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said:
“This is a major milestone in our devices software strategy. 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.”
It also promises a counterpoint in mobile software and programming to Google’s nascent Android operating system. The first Android devices are expected later this year.
But Nokia’s deal for Symbian completes at the end of 2008, work on the new Symbian platform and user interface starts next year and the first devices won’t appear until 2010.