Symbian Development Handed Off To Nokia, Foundation Becomes A New Legal Entity

There’s been a lot of speculation regarding the future of the Symbian foundation and the Symbian platform itself, but a press release issued today aims to clear things up.

The reorganization includes two main points.  First, continued development of the Symbian platform has been handed off to Nokia, who intends to make the OS available to the ecosystem via an alternative direct and open model.”  Second, the Symbian Foundation is re-purposing itself to become a legal entity responsible for licensing software and other intellectual property, such as the Symbian trademark.

“The founding board members took a bold strategic step in setting up the foundation, which was absolutely the right decision at the time,” says Tim Holbrow, executive director, Symbian Foundation.  “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.  The result of this is that the current governance structure for the Symbian platform – the foundation – is no longer appropriate.”

It was noted in the release that the platform is still very much in development and going strong, with the foundation saying it “enjoys strong support from some of the largest and most innovative device creators in the world.”  Interestingly, the release noted solid momentum behind the platform, saying that 25 percent of all Symbian-based devices have shipped in the last 12 months alone.

The first phase of the foundation’s transition will involve a reduction in operations and staff numbers, the release said, and by April 2011, the Symbian Foundation will be governed by a group of non-executive directors tasked with overseeing the organization’s licensing function.  The foundation said its leadership team will work together with Nokia to ensure that the reduction in operations of the foundation will bring as little disruption to the ecosystem as possible.