Friday, June 27, 2008

Nokai (Symbian) vs. Google (Android/OHA)

In our report published last year about Google Android and the Wireless Ecosystem, the excitement that we felt in our Lab about this effort was the fact that Google seemed to be the only company who was in the correct position to truly spark a robust Wireless Ecosystem similar to what has already been created in Japan. The argument that was made in this report was that because Google's revenues would be derived from advertisements placed within Mobile Internet content, that it was within their best interests to have the most compelling mobile content and services developed upon Android.

On Tuesday, things have become even more interesting. Nokia has just purchased the remaining shares of Symbian, created the Symbian Foundation and will make the entire Symbian "platform" available for free for all Foundation members. Symbian will therefore be open source.

While media reports appear to be extremely positive about this move, some questions we'll be discussing in the lab next semester will be:
1) How such a move truly influences the "ecosystem" that exists for content and service developers?
2) Will end-users truly benefit from this move, or is this just a competitive move to thwart Android and the OHA?
3) Can Android truly compete now that Symbian is Open Source?

We will continue to watch how this story unfolds, irrespective of how things evolve, it is clear that Open Source holds one of the keys to the future of the Wireless Ecosystem.

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