Nokia is buying the rest of software maker Symbian for $410 million. The company, which already has a 48 percent stake in Symbian, will purchase the remaining portion from other shareholders, which include Sony Ericsson, Ericsson, Siemens and Panasonic.
Symbian, which was formed by a consortium back in 1998, makes software for smart phones and has gained lots of traction with handset makers. As of March, about 206 million mobile phones have shipped with Symbian. However, the firm is facing increased competition, particularly from Google's Android operating system. The company reported $85.9 million in revenue during the first three months of 2008.
Analyst firm Strategy Analytics says the acquisition is good for Nokia, which will likely use the royalty-free Symbian software to drive growth in its handsets and services in 2009.
In a related matter, Symbian also formed the Symbian Foundation with Nokia, AT&T, LG, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and others. The not-for-profit organization will blend Symbian's software into an open source platform and make it available to members for free, a move that analyst firm Ovum says is positive considering the competitive landscape and the increasing influence of Linux. Ovum believes Linux is a big threat to Symbian's business.