MIR: Nokia open up about Symbian

Morning readers, Whatley here, just got this over MSN from a friend of mine at Nokia;

“Hey Whatley, we are buying Symbian and will donate it + S60 to an open source foundation!”

To which my response was a resounding – “Eh?”

You can read the official Nokia press releases here and here

Now, I’m not a developer. I’m ready to admit my knowledge in this area isn’t great. Ewan’s in the Maldives, the rest of the SMSTN Team are (still) sleeping so it’s down to me to make something of this.

Looking around online there is little opinion up yet – however, unsurprisingly, All About Symbian has the news too and Steve Litchfield says that ‘This is officially HUGE‘.

I dropped the news into Twitter just over an hour ago (at the time of publishing) and got few responses back.

One of my followers and all round smart chap, Jof Arnold, emailed over his thoughts, which he’s kindly given me permission to publish here – I for one am interested to find out what this actually means for the industry as a whole and, more importantly, what’s your opinion on this latest Nokia acquistion?


Over to Jof:

In practice well, that all depends on Nokia and I couldn’t possibly comment on their track history of OSS projects – cos I have no idea.

In theory? Potentially an awful lot. Compare to the iPhone and you’ll see why. Remember all those people trying to jail-break the iPhone? Those projects were successful because fundamentally the operating system pissed off many people; cut and paste; closed apps; no file explorer. Now, had apple open-sourced it fully you’d have a situation where the masses would be contributing huge amounts of their time into making the iPhone just how they wanted it all under Apple’s approval of course.

But, Apple won’t do that and developers are annoyed. Which is why any system that allows developed to tinker with the core operating system is going to be attractive to them. All of a sudden, developers have a conundrum;

  • Develop for a locked-down system that is only on 10m handsets yet has a cool app-distribution and revenue-sharing system. Apple)
  • Develop for an open system that has 200m handsets (nokia)
  • Develop for some google vapour-ware (android)

Impossible to say what will happen, but developers have always had a soft-spot for Symbian. This is potentially game-changing, but Nokia/Symbian’s got their work cut out; despite all this, Apple is a marketing monster and is hard to resist.

Jof Arnold


Thanks for those thoughts Jof. There’s a live webcast scheduled in for 11am today.

We’ll have more news, as it breaks.


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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x