Accenture buys Symbian services unit

The deal means rival handset manufacturers will not need to go to Nokia for advice on how to implement the mobile operating system, which is soon to be open source

The consulting firm Accenture is to buy the professional services wing of Symbian, the Nokia-owned mobile operating system company.

Symbian Professional Services provides engineering and customer support for handset manufacturers that want to implement the Symbian operating system on their devices. Nokia bought Symbian last year, and then released the operating system for open-sourcing — a process that is expected to be completed sometime next year.

The sale of Professional Services to Accenture means handset makers such as Sony Ericsson, which are Symbian Foundation members and will get to use the operating system for free, will not need to go to their rival Nokia for Symbian-related services.

"This agreement allows the Symbian professional services team to realis its full potential in the supply of independent services to the open-source ecosystem," Nokia device chief Peter Ropke said in the company's announcement on Friday. "The transaction underscores Nokia's commitment to the open-source community and the Symbian ecosystem."

The deal will help Accenture "support the tremendous growth our clients can expect from the explosive adoption of converged mobile multimedia services",Jean Laurent Poitou, managing director of Accenture's electronics and high-tech industry group, said.

Around 165 engineers and consultants in the UK, Finland, Japan, Korea and Australia will be transferred to Accenture under the terms of the deal, which is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter of this year.

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