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Nokia buys out Symbian, software goes free

June 26, 2008

Nokia will pay $410 million (E263m) for the 52 per cent of shares in Symbian it doesn't already own. Symbian’s software is used in two-thirds of smartphones and six percent of all mobile phones, but new platforms such as Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone could challenge its dominance. The Symbian software will now be made freely available as an operating system for smart phones.

Currently, Symbian’s closest rival is Windows Mobile operating system, which has just 13 percent of the market despite the maker’s efforts to gain share. Microsoft charges $8 to $15 per phone, according to Strategy Analytics, while Symbian has charged on average $4.10.

The purchase facilitates the establishment of the Symbian Foundation. Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and NTT DOCOMO have confirmed their intent to unite Symbian OS, S60, UIQ and MOAP to create one open mobile software platform. Together with AT&T, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone they plan to establish the Symbian Foundation to extend the appeal of this unified software platform making it a free operating system for all mobile phones.

Membership of this non-profit Foundation will be open to all organisations

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