Another loose end being tied up by Nokia (NYSE: NOK) today. The company announced that Accenture has now fully taken over Symbian, the operating system that Nokia had developed, owned and been using as the basis of its smartphones for years — a strategy that changed in February this year when it announced it would be making devices based on Microsoft’s Windows Phones in the future.
The decision to outsource Symbian was first announced back in April, and Nokia finalized the terms of the deal in June.
Today’s completion of that deal was noted by a terse statement from the company:
“Nokia announced today that it has completed the transaction to outsource its Symbian software development and support activities to Accenture. The signing of the transaction was announced on June 22, 2011. As a result of the transaction, approximately 2,300 employees will transfer to Accenture.”
One thing to note is that when the deal was first finalized back in June, Nokia noted that 2,800 employees would be affected, although Nokia’s note says only 2,300 were transferred today. We have contacted Nokia to find out what has happened to that other 500 and will update this post as we learn more.
Update: An explanation for the discrepancy in jobs cut. “A number of people have found new roles either within Nokia or outside of Nokia,” writes a Nokia spokesperson in response to our question.
As per the original agreement, Nokia has said that it would continue to support Symbian until 2016, and indeed it has been steadily releasing Symbian based-devices this year, with plans to offer more. Following the naming convention of Android and Windows Phone, Nokia is currently releasing “Anna” Symbian devices and is now gearing up for its first “Belle” devices to hit the market later this year.
For now, it looks like the Symbian handsets will largely be aimed at the lower end of the smartphone market while Nokia uses the bulk of its smartphone force in promoting and developing devices based on Windows Phone from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). Yesterday it was reported that Nokia may also be looking to develop a Linux-based OS for feature phones.
That new OS, code-named Meltemi, would be built from the ground up with features like touchscreens in mind, could ultimately be used to replace Symbian as well as S40, the OS that Nokia uses for its feature devices.
Yesterday, Nokia also announced a factory closure and the streamlining of operations in its locations and commerce division, with about 3,500 jobs affected, as part of its larger drive to cut costs and improve focus on future products and services.