Nokia today announced it would acquire the remaining shares in operating system firm Symbian as it looks to create an open mobile software platform with other handset manufacturers.
The Finnish manufacturer said it expected Symbian co-owners Sony Ericsson, Ericsson, Panasonic, Siemens and Samsung to accept its £209m (€264m) bid for the shares that it does not currently own.
Nokia will then contribute the Symbian and S60 software to the ‘Symbian Foundation’ - also launched today - with the aim of creating a royalty-free open platform to accelerate operating system innovation.
Sony Ericsson, Motorola and DoCoMo will also contribute technology and assets to the project, and they are expected to be joined in the venture by AT&T, LG, Samsung STMicroelectonics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone.
Analyst Geoff Blaber of CCS Insight estimates that Nokia paid more than £127 million in license fees for Symbian last year, and he said it makes sense for the company to buy the remaining shares rather than keep paying the royalties.
Blaber said he also believed Nokia was worried that Symbian’s structure would erode its competitive position.
‘Apple has raised the bar from a technical perspective, and Symbian licensees need to respond quickly to its touch-screen user interface, high performance and easy-to-use development tools,’ he said.
‘Google has challenged the commercial model, stating that its Android platform has reduced the cost of software to “close to zero”.'