With Competition From Android & iOS Looming, The Symbian Foundation Nears The End

Rumors are circulating that the Symbian Foundation is finally nearing the end, falling under the pressure of Android and iOS in the smartphone race.

The Nokia-backed consortium has been hit with massive member departures and a complete lack of funding to keep its momentum strong enough to continue its fight.  As a result, the board managing the Foundation has asked its new executive director to close operations.  The Foundation itself wouldn’t confirm or deny the report, but stated its board is reviewing strategy.  “The future business strategy for the Symbian Foundation is still under review by the board,” the group said.  “As no decisions have been made, we will not be offering further comment.”

Even though there’s nothing but bad news coming from Symbian, it retains its crown as the leading smartphone OS worldwide, controlling 41.2 percent of the global market according to data published Gartner recently.  It was just a year ago that Symbian-based devices represented 51 percent of the market, though its share continues to drop dramatically — especially as Android continues its srive to the top.

The final nail in the coffin was when both Sony Ericsson and Samsung said they’d no longer manufacture Symbian-based devices.  Along with Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung represented Symbian’s largest manufacturing partners and it’s believed that all three device makers each contributed around $7.8 million to Symbian’s funding — leaving Nokia the only one still extending financial support.

While its fate is still relatively unknown, the Symbian Foundation is likely reached its peak.  In the end, a second-coming of Symbian is probably the best thing that could happen — one that re-badges the aging OS and trims the fat.  Without support from consumers and especially developers, Symbian will never re-earn its crown.  We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.