Nokia and Symbian versus Microsoft

This Symbian falters in battle with Microsoft article by Wireless Watch in The Register gives an interesting overview of the recent struggle over the control of Symbian.

When the Nokia-Psion deal was announced everyone assumed that Nokia would thereafter take control over Symbian, but now it seems like Ericsson and Sony are doing what they can to counter Nokia’s move.

If it would be better for Symbian to only have one controlling actor instead of as currently a consortium is hard to say, but Microsoft is expanding fast in the mobile area so Symbian and manufacturers using Symbian have to move fast or the game will be lost.

One just has to look at the current PC market to see what Microsoft dominance is like. I would hate to see the same happen with the mobile phone market.

My opinion is that Nokia should open source Series 60. It wouldn’t even have to be truly open-source, just make the source code available for anyone to download but the license might, for example, prohibit using the code in a phone without getting a “Series 60 comformance” approval. The approval process would then be a source of income for Nokia.

One could then imagine that application developers could put their applications through some tests (which might also be subject to a fee) and if the application passes it would be “Series 60 certified.” A “Series 60 certified” application would then naturally work flawlessly on all phones approved for Series 60 comformance.

But just making the source code available is not enough, they should at the same time open up the development process and tap into the open source community power.

Imagine being able to by yourself fix that one annoying bug you find so irritating when using some function of your phone.

Imagine telling your friends that you fixed the problem they complained about last week.

That is how I think Nokia could out-maneuver Microsoft in the mobile market. But will they do it? I say no, Nokia has yet to show me that they’ve understood the spirit and power of open source. Hopefully they will before it’s too late.