Nokia has once more taken control of Symbian, moving software development in-house and turning the Symbian Foundation into a licensing operation.
The move - the first major decision on platforms by new Nokia chief Stephen Elop - was seen as inevitable after Sony Ericsson and Samsung abandoned the platform in favor of Android earlier this year.
Nokia is the only handset-maker to still use Symbian.
“There has since been a seismic change in the mobile market, but also more generally in the economy, which has led to a change in focus for some of our funding board members,” said Tim Holbrow, Symbian Foundation executive director. As a result the foundation structure was “no longer appropriate,” he said.
“Nokia plans to continue to invest its own resources in developing Symbian, the world's most widely used smartphone platform, and expects to deliver a strong portfolio of Symbian-based smartphones to people around the world,” the company said in a statement.
In a guest post on Tech Crunch, former Symbian staffer Tim Ocock says the OS “had a well earned reputation for being hard to program,” long before Nokia turned it open-source two years ago.
Over the years it had suffered from Nokia’s behind-the-scenes role as biggest customer, insisting Symbian used “Nokia-controlled components, the TCP/IP networking stack, the WiFi, Location services [and] SIP stack for VoIP calling.”
But its biggest problem was the belief that there would be no market for mobile apps, “so why support third party developers?”
Ocock says the introduction of Qt as Nokia’s sole apps development framework was the right strategy, but needed to be finished soon.
“It needs to be core to the Nokia software operation not a fringe activity.”