Nokia today said it would become the sole owner of Symbian, buying out Ericsson, Siemens, Samsung and Panasonic. In reality, Symbian has been very Nokia centric for quite some time already so this move is not surprising.
More surprising is Nokia's intention to make Symbian open source trough the Symbian Foundation. This is clearly a pre-emptive attack on Google's Android project, the open source Linux based operating system for cell phones that will be put to use in the first cell phones later this year.
An important question needs to be answered: is Nokia successful because of Symbian or despite of Symbian?
Symbian has been around since 1998 and is based on Psion's EPOC that was made for PDA's in the late 1980s when processing power and memory were much more limited than today. Much has been done to modernize Symbian but a common complain from software developers is still that Symbian tries to be resource friendly and "light" by putting a lot of burden on the software developer. In contrast, more modern competitors such as Android seem to be much simpler to use for developers and simply designed for the kind of mobile devices we have today. Apple has also created a lot of interest in their iPhone trough a very impressive looking and easy to use software development kit (SDK). Developers are claiming they can make mobile software in weeks for the iPhone that used to take months for other mobile operating systems, ie Symbian.