Android destroying Nokia but to what end

It was Nokia's passivity that led Symbian to the precipice from which it has fallen. Will Google learn that lesson in time?

For every market winner there is a loser.

Even in an open source market.

In the market for phone operating systems the loser is clearly the Symbian Foundation, and by extension Nokia, its chief sponsor.

In the last few weeks the cracks around Symbian have opened up into a gaping wound no amount of spin can turn into an attractive birthmark.

Executive director Lee Williams has resigned. Founding members Samsung and Sony Ericsson say they will no longer support it in products.

Nokia seems to be pinning its hopes on a phone called the N8, but it's clear that will be it for Symbian. As Mashable notes Nokia's market share freefall is approaching terminal velocity.

The man charged with pulling Nokia out of its dive is Stephen Elop, a Canadian and former Microsoft executive. Nokia still has Meego, an open source mobile distro sponsored by the Linux Foundation and co-founded with Intel.  Elop could also give Microsoft a hand-up.

Even if Nokia decides to focus on the low-end of the market, where it still has share internationally, European carriers are not looking at Symbian. They are contemplating rolling out yet-another operating system instead.

Symbian isn't the only mobile OS being pressured by Android. Meego may be a non-starter, Microsoft is getting laughed at, and RIM is squarely in the Android's sights as well.

It's just that Symbian's fall has been so dramatic. When I joined this beat, in the age of real time operating systems, Symbian was absolutely dominant. Now it may not last out the year, less because of Android than the iPhone, and the transition from wireless phones to mobile Internet clients that followed.

The question now arises, in a world dominated by carriers and scaled manufacturing, how many open source mobile operating systems are really viable? And what is Google really winning by killing off rivals like Symbian?

Seems to me it's just becoming Symbian itself, with no more power than Symbian had to monetize or control its market lead. It was Nokia's passivity that led Symbian to the precipice from which it has fallen. Will Google learn that lesson in time?

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All