Nokia and Open Source Symbian
By: Eric Everson, Founder MyMobiSafe.com
So Nokia picked up the exclusive rights to the Symbian OS recently at a relative bargain (considering the licensing fees that Nokia can now save). But as many of the Nokia employees are likely wondering too… what’s next?
Nokia has already entered Symbian as an open source Mobile Operating System (MOPS), so what does that mean for cell phone users? With rumors circulating that the impending G-Phone is being delayed are Symbian users going to have to tread the untamed water of being the first deployed open source MOPS on the market? Interestingly as a Finnish company, Nokia shares the patriotic soil of Linus Torvalds “the Godfather of Open Source.” Perhaps Nokia would be best served by hiring Mr. Torvalds for a few “what’s next” pointers.
As an industry we are admittedly in the midst of change as the proprietary OS is being left behind in favor of open source. The problem however is that this migration is without precedent within the history of OS development. In so many cases the lessons learned in the sister industry of computers applies directly to the mobile side too. With that said, while open source has its place in the computer-based OS industry, let’s not forget where 90% of the market share resides. My question then becomes, why do we think that the fate of mobile open source is any less destined to a similar fate as the computer-based sister industry.
As has been proven in the past, it only takes one company to develop the right OS and all of a sudden the OS market share will be swallowed in whole too. Not to be pessimistic, but in the end open source platforms lack a primary motivation in development… capital.
Has Nokia made the right move by turning Symbian into an open source MOPS? It may be a decision that will be proven in time, but as for now it represents a major stepping stone in the pursuit of Universal Mobile Torrent (UMT) architecture.
Eric Everson, Founder