Google Android and Symbian to merge?

Word on the street is that Android and Symbian are looking to merge or, at least, that it makes a lot of sense to do so.

A range of sources are suggesting that Google Android and Symbian are likely to merge before the end of the year, but they all seem to be trading off the same research note by J. Gold Associates, which made this claim, as reported by InformationWeek:

Nokia and other users of Symbian, which has the largest share of smartphones in the market, do not want to compete in the OS market, the firm said. With Google, the search engine entered the OS market to push the industry toward openness and a level playing field in offering applications and services on the devices.

"We expect that within the next three-six months, Symbian and Android will combine to provide a single open source OS," J. Gold said. "Many of the same sponsors are involved in both initiatives."

It definitely makes sense, and would make Symbian the absolute de facto standard for mobile open source (and, really, for mobile, period). It's already the market leader. Having Google's brand behind Symbian could very well mean "game over" for mobile Linux in the mobile phone market.

Some won't like this because they want Linux to win. I'm sympathetic to that view. But this isn't about Linux. It's about open source. Symbian is open source, and is an exceptional mobile operating system. Why reinvent the mobile open-source wheel?

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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