Ahh... just in case you thought you had a handle on Motorola's strategy now that they've launched their first Symbian smartphone, think again. This morning it was announced that Nokia and Psion are buying out Motorola's shares in Symbian. This explains Motorola's lack of any real movement on the Symbian front and their lack of real commitment to the platform with phones running Linux and Microsoft coming soon. But it's incredible to me that this is announced THE DAY AFTER the launch of their first Symbian device, but there you have it, Motorola's famous zig-zagging continues apace.
In the press release Moto has this to say:
"As a Symbian licensee, Motorola will continue to support the Symbian OS for specific customer and business needs, such as in our 3G devices. However, our primary software focus for the mass market will stay centered on Java, which is also supported by Symbian. We believe Java is what ultimately provides our customers worldwide with the most optimized and differentiated mobile experiences," said Scott Durchslag, corporate vice president of Motorola's Personal Communications Sector.
I can't say it's a bad strategy in general. Java is a platform after all. This move also explains why Moto said it plans to eventually use Linux in most of its handsets, including the less-expensive models last week during Moto's Linux phone launch last week. Java runs just as well on top of Linux, right? But is this really their plan?
I have to say that it makes me wonder. Motorola, somehow, is the world's #2 phone manufacturer, yet they seem to have absolutely no long-term strategy besides throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks. Follow my thoughts: First they're an investor in Symbian and present a united front against Microsoft invading the mobile phone market and commodizing mobiles like the PC market (leaving MS with massive revenues while manufacturers scrape for razor-thin returns), but then they don't launch any Symbian devices, even after the OS has been battled tested a bit by Nokia and is ready for prime-time. Then they announce a Linux phone, and shortly thereafter a Microsoft one. (Of course, the Linux Moto uses doesn't run on the Embeddix OS they bought last December, but Montavista instead...). Then they *finally* get a Symbian device out the door and all of us Symbian watchers now think that the floodgates have been opened, and its announced they're stepping out of the consortium and concentrating on Java.
Okay, what is it Moto? Are you Symbian supporters? Linux heads? Java advocates? Microsoft Drones? You want to do *all* that? How the hell are you going to *support* that many OSes? How the hell are you going to *integrate* services across phones and offer advanced and more compelling devices and applications if you don't have any long term strategy or standard OS? How much do you think it's going to cost in research and development to put all your devices on various OSes? Don't you guys have *any* thoughts towards efficiency? How much do you think it cost Nokia to develop the 6600? A lot less than the 3650, I'm sure. And a whole lot less than the 7650. That's the whole idea of standardizing on a platform.
I mean, hey, if there *is* a strategy, then we'd all like to know it. Especially us developers... I'd LOVE to support Motorola. It's a cool company with a long history and is centered in the U.S. I'd rather not give my cash to some government subsidized Finish operation, but hey, baby, you're not helping me out at all!
Throw us a frikin' line here, Moto! Draw out a roadmap. Throw some bread crumbs down so we can figure out where you're going...