Open Source Symbian and the Inescapable Truth of Product Lifecycles

By Jason Whitmire

The announcement one year ago that Symbian will be open sourced under a license free platform in 1HCY10 was heard around the world. If we are to believe game theory, the motivations behind this move are not a non-zero sum game but rather one of rational choice by its major stakeholders. But what does Open Source Symbian really mean for all of the players involved?  Recent press commentary on the announcement might suggest that the leading ascendant contenders for the unifying Open Source platform – Android, Moblin, and LiMo – will somehow be cannibalized by a resurgent Symbian platform that is "free."

Indeed, in the mobile industry, invariably, there is always that big announcement that gains mindshare from industry pundits who can see the future (I recall WCDMA handset launches enjoyed similar attention in 2000). However I believe the opposite is true in the case of Symbian, that its demise as it nears an end to a natural product lifecycle will only be accelerated when it is made available under an open source license next year.

Here are 7 reasons why I believe this to be the case:

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