Battle for Mobile OS Dominance

In a previous post I commented on how the open-source development community responded negatively to comments made by Dr. Ari Jaaksi, VP of Software & Head of Open-Source Operations for Nokia. Dr. Jaaksi suggested that the open-source community needed to learn a thing or two about the mobile space & that the community needed to change their current approach for developing software applications due to the out-of-date business rules that are still enforced by the mobile industry.

Two days ago Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone maker, made a very different statement when they made a move to buy up the remaining ownership in the smartphone software maker Symbian. If the $410 million deal goes through, Nokia will retain 47.9% majority ownership of Symbian. This move by Nokia indicates concern for those lower-cost mobile phone operating systems from Google Android & the LiMo Foundation.

With the mobile market heating up & businesses moving quickly to develop mobile applications it is key for Nokia to be running an OS which is widely accepted by the development community. Today, Symbian is used in two-thirds of smartphones being sold. Symbian’s closest rival is Microsoft’s Windows Mobile OS, which has just 13% of the market. Of course, both Apple & Google plan to gain a piece of this market very quickly. Apple has been making a lot of noise with its new software release for the 3G iPhone & although rumored to be behind Google is sure to gain a significant piece of this market when its Android software is released.

The good news for application developers & businesses is that we’ll have options when deciding which devices & operating systems we want to develop applications for. Because of the increased competition in this market both device & OS manufactures will be more likely to bend & do more to ensure we are using their solution & not their competitors.

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3 Responses to Battle for Mobile OS Dominance

  1. […] NetworkIP Blog put an intriguing blog post on Battle for Mobile OS DominanceHere’s a quick excerptApple has been making a lot of noise with its new software release for the 3G iPhone &… […]

  2. tote says:

    Small correction about the percentage of Nokia’s ownership in Symbian. First, Symbian as a business entity will disappear, because it will essentially be Nokia (employees will be taken over). Second, Nokia will not only retain its ~48% in Symbian OS, but will go up to ~70%! This is because board membership is seat-based and number of seats will reflect the number of Symbian Foundation-based devices sold.

  3. Brian Kirk says:

    @ tote, thanks for contributing & providing this correction. you are right on!

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