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Nokia renews its vows with Symbian, taking full control of development

Like a giant Finnish Borg, Nokia has taken over all the most important functions of the Symbian Foundation, after the departure of Samsung and Sony Ericsson left it desperately short of funding.

Nokia is taking over all the development work done by the Symbian Foundation, due to a sudden lack of funding resulting from the departures of key members such as Sony Ericsson and Samsung.

The Symbian Foundation was forced to reconsider its future, and after a board meeting, found it couldn't continue in its present form. Operations and staff numbers will be reduced, and by April next year it will only exist as a licensing body.

All Symbian management will be taken on by Nokia from March. Nokia has already announced what it intends to do with Symbian, scrapping Symbian 4 as a new product and instead updating the operating system with updates as soon as they are ready. It also wants to bring Symbian and MeeGo development closer together.

Symbian 3 is currently shaking its booty in the Nokia N8, Nokia C7 and Nokia C6-01, as well as the upcoming Nokia E7, which we expect to see in shops before the end of the year. 

It's the end of an era, with Nokia the only company focusing on Symbian development. Nokia originally acquired the Symbian Foundation in 2008, which managed and unified the platform for download and development.

Other founding members of the Symbian Foundation, such as Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Motorola, have moved on to other platforms such as Android and more recently, Windows Phone 7. But Nokia is not going to give up on Symbian.

"Make no mistake, Nokia chooses Symbian. Do not confuse the end of the Foundation with the end of the Symbian platform," said Jo Harlow, senior vice president for smart phones at Nokia, in a Nokia Conversations blog post.

"The Foundation has been very important in steering the platform through increasingly challenging waters, but the Foundation and the platform are not the same. Nokia has no intention to change the plans announced on 21 October to continue to develop and evolve Symbian."

Very simply, Nokia has taken the Symbian operation in-house as the Foundation clearly could not exist in its present form. And although it was rumoured that Nokia could be preparing to use a different OS, this move does appear to show a lasting commitment towards Symbian.

Is this enough? Can Nokia create an OS that stops losing market share to iOS4 and Android? The next year will be crucial for the Finns. How do you see things panning out?