Nokia to buy Symbian outright, launches app effort

Along with plans to take 100 percent control of the OS maker, Nokia unveils the Symbian Foundation, which is set to create a platform for mobile Web applications.

Mobile phone maker Nokia announced Tuesday that it plans to acquire the 52 percent of mobile software specialist Symbian that it does not already own, in a cash deal valued at about 264 million euros, or $410 million.

Long a phone maker, Nokia has been dabbling in Web apps and services through its Ovi brand. Nokia

In addition, Nokia and a number of other electronics makers are forming the Symbian Foundation to drive the development of Web applications for use by consumers on cell phones. The foundation plans to provide a unified platform that has a common user interface framework and that will be available for all foundation members under a royalty-free license, Nokia said.

"Our vision is to become the most widely used software platform on the planet," Nigel Clifford, CEO of Symbian, said in a statement.

That ambition is a resounding shot across the bow of both Apple, which earlier this month unveiled its iPhone 2.0 ecosystem , and Google, which has been working on its own Android platform for mobile applications .

Nokia has already taken steps toward its own ecosystem of Web applications and services through efforts such as its Ovi brand for gaming, social networking, and mapping.

The other backers of the nonprofit Symbian Foundation are AT&T, LG Electronics, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, Samsung Electronics, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, and Vodafone.

Nokia already owns 48 percent of Symbian , maker of a widely used operating system for mobile phones. It has now extended a cash offer for the Symbian shares not already in its hands at a price of $5.67 (3.647 euros) per share.

Most other stakeholders in Symbian--Ericsson, Sony Ericsson, Panasonic, and Siemens--have already accepted the offer, and Samsung Electronics is expected to accept it as well, Nokia said.

About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.

 

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