Change and delay at mobile software platforms

It looks like the Symbian camp has just had an outbreak of peace and harmony that should strengthen its position in the face of increasing competition from the iPhone, BlackBerry and Google's Android open platform initiative.


Nokia has made a cash offer of €3.647 per share to acquire the 52% stake of Symbian Limited that it does not own already. The total price will be about €264 million, if the offer is accepted. Symbian Limited that develops and licenses the Symbian operating system for mobile.


Sony Ericsson, Ericsson, Panasonic Mobile Communications and Siemens International Holding have given an undertaking of their acceptance and their collective stake amounts to about 91% of the outstanding shares. Samsung Electronics own the rest and, according to Nokia, will also accept its offer.


According to Telecompaper, the acquisition is a fundamental step in the establishment of the Symbian Foundation, announced by Nokia, together with AT&T, LG Electronics, Motorola, NTT DOCOMO, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone.


This morning,  Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and NTT DoCoMo said today that they intended to unite their Symbian offerings -  OS, S60, UIQ and MOAP(S) - to create one open mobile software platform.


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. Membership of the non-profit Foundation will be open to all organizations. 


The Android camp is having rather less fun. According to an article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal Google is finding out that the mobile industry isn't as straightforward as it thought. When Google and some 30 parties set up the Android initiative last November, they claimed they would have handsets running a new, open suite of software in the second quarter of this year.


It can come as no surprise to the cognoscenti that this was overly ambitious. According to the WSJ, Google admits that the phones won't be available before the end of the year or even next year. In the meantime, a great deal of doubt seems to have crept in concerning Android's ultimate feasibility.