Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nokia and Symbian deemed by some "Irrelevant"

SAN FRANCISCO -- Symbian Ltd. and Nokia Corp. defended the relevance of the two companies in today’s market Wednesday during a roundtable discussion that focused on the creation of the Symbian Foundation.

In August, reported that some in Silicon Valley aren’t too keen of the Finnish handset giant. During a conference in July organized by tech blog Michael Arrington, David Rivas, Nokia VP in charge of smartphone software, was interrupted as he spoke about the company to a group of venture capitalists and software developers.

As Rivas talked about Nokia’s position in Korea and Japan and the thought that the Web hadn’t been mobile until the iPhone, someone in the crowd told Rivas to, “Wake Up,” Forbes reported. Arrington then added from the stage, “I believe that Nokia and Symbian are irrelevant companies at this point.”

Symbian provides the software for Nokia’s smartphones. Earlier this summer, Nokia announced it acquired total ownership of Symbian for a reported $411 million. The Symbian Foundation is being created to combine Nokia’s S6o platform with the Symbian platform into a single smartphone operating system.

When asked about Arrington’s comment Wednesday, David Wood, Symbian VP of research, said Symbian has seen a growth in sales and more handset models are in development than ever before. Wood also said the company has 92 different floor models available and each have average sales of 1 million. Wood also said the consulting aspect of Symbian has increased its revenue by 76% this year.

“We have a lot of engaging and exciting projects we are working on,” Wood said.

Wood also touts the formation of the Symbian Foundation. Shortly after the Forbes article was published, Wood wrote that the foundation would provide “new routes to market for Symbian technology, as well as more rapid collaborative development.

”Oren Levine, a Nokia product marketing manager of the S6o organization, questions anyone who says the company is irrelevant based on the fact that Nokia has sold 200 million devices in almost every country in the world. Symbian OS is also used on two-thirds of all smartphones worldwide, according to the company.

“By no means can you call it irrelevant,” Levine said.Christy Wyatt, who leads Motorola’s software platform and ecosystem groups, also defended Nokia and Symbian.“We wouldn’t be here if we thought Symbian was irrelevant,” Wyatt said.

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