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back to article Symbian Foundation faces closure

The Nokia-backed consortium fighting off Android and the iPhone is facing closure. Hit by a major member defection this month, the Symbian Foundation has asked its new executive director to close operations because it has insufficient funding to continue. This week, the Foundation had announced the sudden and immediate …

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Pint

one nokia to rule them all

symbian is opensource and nothing can change that. as with every opensource project, there must be someone (person, commitee or bunch of people), that defines direction and developers that make it happen. developers might be payed by commercial stakeholders or by volunteers.

as of now, direction was decided bye board. board was chosen by corporate foundation members. these corporate foundation members also payed developers (there is very little of volunteer developers).

IMHO: if there will be not enough corporate sponsors, developers will be payed by nokia and nokia will as well set direction (without need for consultations with other foundation members).

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Thumb Up

Good!

I'm not sure if it's symbian or nokia but every symbian Nokia i've had in the last 5 years has been shockingly bad. Today, in 2010 they still have a bug that means texts cant always be stored correctly in date order.

An important dev step maybe. Butnever robust mature or stable.

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1

Huh?

I've had a bunch of Symbian phones in a row. Never had that bug. How do you manage it and under what conditions?

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Anonymous Coward

Break glass in case of emergancy

There's only one hope left - Someone phone the Mayor of London and get him to switch on the bat psimbol:

http://img440.imageshack.us/img440/6213/symbian.jpg

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WTF?

41% is still a lot

The media keep on knocking Nokia, but over the past year their smartphone growth was in excess of 60%. That is success by any normal person's measure. OK, so Apple outstripped them, but there is more to life than just market share. People are killing themselves like leamings over a cliff to get market share. Crazy. Everything is finite.

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WTF?

It seems highly unlikely

that Nokia would close down Symbian Foundation which it paid $410m to create and which underpins it's mainstream mid-range and high-end devices not to mention lose enormous amounts of face and good will with partners while copping a huge amount of criticism and backlash from analysts and seeding doubt amongst end users, and all for the sake of a few million per year in ongoing funding?

Talk about cutting off the nose to spite the face, but I just don't see it happening particularly as Nokia and Symbian are now finally on the right track - it would be like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

A strategy review is appropriate given that Williams (who failed to retain partners) has left and Nokia now has a new CEO and a reorganisation (at least of funding) may be the result, but certainly not closure.

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Anonymous Coward

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?

That's Nokia's specialty

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Anonymous Coward

@Neil 7

So what's a Foundation for, then? There are no new licensees, and most of the old ones have gone. The Foundation is just an administrative overhead.

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"So what's a Foundation for, then?"

Who says new licensees won't sign up over time? Android has it's problems, it's far from perfect and WP7 is still an unknown quantity and is also far from finished or complete. Symbian isn't dead, far from it, so why should the Foundation be written off as though it were?

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fch

It's called "throwing good money after the bad ..."

,.. where you state "... all for the sake of a few million per year in ongoing funding".

A company with any decent business sense will, after an investment turned bad, eventually do a write-off and thereby limit further losses. If the foundation has proven to have no benefit to Nokia, then why continue to spend money on it ? Whoever made the original decision to shell out for it is, if there's anything but justice in business, hopefully gone.

That said, you're right that neither cutting the foundation's throat nor swinging the scythe amongst the ranks of Nokia's own SymbianOS developers means it ends here and now. Nokia still retains more SymbianOS developers than the rest of the industry combined and still derives significant parts of both its revenue and income stream from Symbian-based devices, as you say. But the loss-of-face, backlash, and doubt have been there long long before. Where again does publicly relegating Symbian to the benches make things any worse (and for whom), given it hasn't played for a good two years anyway ?

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"A company with any decent business sense..."

Hard to argue with that from a purely business sense but it's also crazy for a technology company such as Nokia to axe SF when it's only been in existence for 2 years during which time it has mostly delivered on what it was set up to achieve - that is open source the code (which it has, even if the casual non-hardware developer can't do much with it), and update the operating system and UI. Symbian^3 is only just out the door, the first real, tangible, deliverable of the Foundation and everyone is saying the SF has failed? It seems crazy to me for any business to cut their losses so quickly.

Nokia should give SF more time to build on what it has delivered so far and to support SF along with existing and active SF member such as Fujitsu, Sharp, DoCoMo. For Nokia to kill SF would harm what business SF has in Japan and obviously terminate any future business that might arise by sticking with it for a bit longer. Sod Samsung and SE, if they want to stick with Android that's their choice but they'll be eaten alive by the low-cost Chinese manufacturers that are also sailing that ship of low profit margin.

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Shame

Am I the only person who doesnt want a touchscreen phone where the battery lasts a day?

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Coat

Re: Shame

Why would you want a touchscreen phone where the battery lasts less than a day??

You people are crazy!

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FAIL

41%?

Only 41%? In terms of market share, that's full of win.

But if Nokia screw up Symbian.. what's the alternative? MeeGo isn't ready and won't be until next year at the earliest. Perhaps it's time for Windows Phone 7..

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Bod

Alternate OS

Problem is, Nokia have just about no skills in any other operating system. It would be a major task to switch to WP7 or Android, without hiring loads of people, and they've just pushed 1800 people out the door.

Problem Nokia has is fragmentation, but it is also what they're best at. To make a good phone they need to concentrate on a few devices, not thousands to cover all bases. However those thousands are what makes them money, especially S40 feature phones, which still sell extremely well and which makes them the world leader of mobile phones.

Maybe they should just scale back Symbian phones to a few and concentrate on making them good, and focus the rest on S40, which really can't be faulted as they are great phones that just work. Some of the 'features' in feature phones are approaching the smart phone now anyway.

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Don't really care.

I have an xbox.

I have a good slr camera.

I have a good pc.

The pub is also open.

Payphone (landline) available.

WTF do I NEED all this crap (extra) for.

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Unhappy

Foundation may be dead, but Symbian isn't ...

Nokia sold 26m smartphones (almost entirely Symbian) in the third quarter of this year, and with the launch (finally!) of the N8 (and E7 etc.) I would expect Symbian sales to continue to increase.

I have no idea if Nokia will continue to contribute to the open source code if no one else is ... but there will still be something like 5,000 Nokians working on Symbian after the layoffs, plus things like Qt which work with both Meego and Symbian ...

... perhaps, as @hyartep suggests, by not having to try to provide an open source version that's trying to please SonyEricsson, Samsung etc. Nokia can concentrate more on producing better devices.

@Neil 7, I think it more likely that rather than fund a separate foundation, Nokia would be more likely to bring some of that in-house, but I guess it depends on two things: 1) what benefit would Nokia get from having parts of the Foundaton inhouse, 2) how much would it cost? Put those two together and they can then decide whether it is going to be worthwhile.

@Bod, I think your ideas sound pretty good, though whether to continue with Meego as the "aspirational" phone to attract the Linux/Android crowd is probably a good idea too, if it doesn't cost too much ... I guess we'll find out when the first meego phone goes on sale and we can see how good it is ...

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FAIL

Nokia sticking with Symbian Foundation

Nokia's Savander: 'the Symbian Foundation will exist as an open source movement and we will use it'

http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/26/nokias-savander-the-symbian-foundation-will-exist-as-an-open/

Wot. A. Surprise.

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