Nokia said today it has received a €500 million loan ($630 million) from the European Investment Bank to help it further develop Symbian and keep it competitive with other mobile operating systems. The loan may change the math we’ve done on the likelihood of Symbian beating out Android, LiMo, Apple, Windows Mobile and other mobile OSes, and it brings a whiff of nationalism to the battle for control of the mobile phone. According to the EIB web site (emphasis mine):
The task of the Bank is to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States. The EIB raises substantial volumes of funds on the capital markets which it lends on favourable terms to projects furthering EU policy objectives. The EIB continuously adapts its activity to developments in EU policies.
Apparently the EU, after dealing with the aftermath of a few U.S.-born monopolies, is seeking to make sure the next generation of computing that will take place on the go happens on an OS that a European company develops. Last year, the EIB issued a report about a European R&D gap, which Nokia may have exploited. Regardless, the EIB’s significant investment over the next five years could help keep Nokia and Symbian a symbol of European pride.