The Financial Times (Germany) is quoting a source close to Nokia (s NOK) as saying that the company might dump the Symbian operating system and instead opt for its LinuxOS, Maemo. The rumor has been picked up by various blogs and built up a life its own. Given that Symbian will soon release an overhauled version of its operating system sometime later this year and will eventually release it to developers and handset makers, it would be strange to see Nokia throw in the towel this soon.
And given that Nokia had spent $410 million on Symbian before open sourcing it, I couldn’t buy into the story. A similar nonsensical rumor surfaced a few months ago and was quickly shot down by Nokia. So today, I reached out to the Nokia spokesperson, who dismissed the latest one as well.
“We absolutely remain committed to Symbian and S60,” the spokesperson said. “Symbian remains our choice for smartphones and we’ll continue to see enhancements that further the value and experiences on this platform.” Nokia is working on non-smartphone devices such as the N900 tablet. Maemo is the operating system for Nokia’s Internet tablets.
“However, recognizing that the value we bring to the consumer is increasingly represented through software, there is logically not just one software environment that fits all consumer and market needs,” the spokesperson said. “In addition, as we’ve stated before, we also continue to explore opportunities around a new class of devices that we see as the next segment of high performance mobile devices. Maemo is very much part of that thinking but of course there’s nothing new to announce in this regard.”
Many, including yours truly, believe that Nokia and Symbian are being slow with their response to the challenges posed by more Internet-savvy mobile operating systems, namely Google’s Android, Palm’s WebOS and Apple’s iPhone OS.