Nokia Buys Out Psion - Controls Symbian



As predicted here (and a few other places), and despite Ewan's assurance to me last night that it couldn't happen, Nokia bought out Psion's shares and is going to now control 63% of Symbian. News Links:

I'm sure there'll be more as this is pretty big news. So some quick 9 a.m analysis: It was pretty obvious that something like this was going to happen. The vast majority of the SymbianOS licenses sold are to Nokia (we were guessing last night about 8 to 1, maybe more) and with Motorola gone, there's no reason for Nokia to not want to control the company which holds such a strategic position in their current and future offerings. Like I said a few days ago, the market is converging on smart phones and it'd be crazy for Nokia, which sells 1 out of 3 mobile phones in the world, not to control Symbian or even buy it outright.

I'm sure Symbian as a company will remain a separate entity for the forseeable future, but how this is going to affect the rest of the Symbian shareholder's interest in the operating system is still the question. Will we now see other defections like Moto? Will DoCoMo continue its path towards Linux and drop Symbian because of this? Also, this isn't a done deal yet, the other shareholder's do have "proportional pre-emption rights" whatever that means - though obviously any board vote would be dominated by Nokia and Psion's voting rights, there may be intrigue yet to come.

Anyways, if you've read my posts lately, I've been pretty consistent in using Symbian and Nokia interchangeably because it seemed to me that their fates were inextricably tied. Symbian would not be a viable OS company without Nokia. In fact, it's my opinion that companies like PalmSource and Symbian just can't survive as one trick Operating System ponies - they need to have those links with bigger entities. Only Microsoft can play that sort of game because it has a (illegal) monopoly and has other products like Office which also bring in tons-o-cash as well. If Symbian and PalmOS had suites of software as well as their OS and thousands of customers instead of handfuls of manufacturers, I'd think they'd have a chance. But I think PalmSource will eventually be subsumed by Sony, just as Symbian has been absorbed by Nokia (if only in stock, not actual name).

Additionally, Nokia is the one with the cash. When it comes to battling Microsoft's insurgence into the mobile market, it's not Symbian who's got the market power and cash reserves to ward off the borg, it's Nokia. Everyone sees this which is why in the news lately, we've all been seeing more of the Microsoft Vs. Nokia stories rather than vs Symbian since it's pretty obvious that's who the battle will involve - Symbian is only a bit player in that drama, really.

Anyways, very cool news. Always fun to wake up to big happenings like this.


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