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November 29, 2010

Non-Profit Symbian Foundation to Transition to Licensing Model

Following a strategy review, the board of the Symbian (News - Alert) Foundation has decided to transition the role of the non-profit organization to a licensing operation. As a result, the foundation will become a legal entity responsible for licensing software and other intellectual property (IP). Additionally, the dismantling process has begun and the organization’s website will close by Dec. 17.

The first phase of the foundation’s transition will involve a reduction in operations and staff numbers. By April 2011, the Symbian Foundation will be governed by a group of non-executive directors tasked with overseeing the organization’s licensing function.

Meanwhile, those interested in the source code for the current version of the Symbian mobile operating system should download it now as the organization intends to charge a fee for a copy to be shipped on physical media in the future, according to the Foundation. Also, Nokia (News - Alert) said that it will take over the development of Symbian operating system.

In a statement, Tim Holbrow, executive director of the Symbian Foundation, said, “Board members took a bold strategic step in setting up the foundation, which was absolutely the right decision at the time. There has since been a seismic change in the mobile market but also more generally in the economy, which has led to a change in focus for some of our funding board members. The result of this is that the current governance structure for the Symbian platform – the foundation - is no longer appropriate.”

Similarly, commented Jo Harlow, senior vice president of smartphones for Nokia, “Nokia remains committed to Symbian as the most used smartphone platform around the world. The Nokia N8 generated the highest online pre-orders we’ve ever experienced and we have a family of Symbian^3 smartphones including the Nokia N8, Nokia C7, and Nokia C6-01 which are available now, as well as the Nokia E7 which is expected to ship before the end of 2010. Nokia expects to sell more than 50 million Symbian^3 smartphones.”

The Symbian Foundation leadership team will work together with Nokia to ensure that the reduction in operations of the foundation will bring as little disruption to the ecosystem as possible.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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