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Nokia Outsources Symbian OS Work 179

Posted by timothy
from the symbionia-is-near-elbonia dept.
angry tapir writes "Nokia will outsource its Symbian software activities to Accenture, transferring 3,000 employees to the company in the process, as it moves its focus to making phones running on Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system. The Finnish phone manufacturer will also close some of its research and development sites and eliminate a further 4,000 jobs by the end of next year. Last week Nokia announced the signing of a definitive agreement regarding their global mobile ecosystem partnership."
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Nokia Outsources Symbian OS Work

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  • by nzac (1822298) on Friday April 29, 2011 @05:52AM (#35972830)

    I thought they still dominated this sector?

    How can the shareholders think this is profitable? While is good for the short term without Symbian continuing they will potentially faid to being irrelevant killing the share price.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 29, 2011 @06:02AM (#35972860)

    I agree that things look dim, but in addition to Intel — LG maybe able to throw its hat into the Meego ring [meegoexperts.com].

    My N900 is great and I'd hate to move off that platform.

  • Re:We're sorry (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 29, 2011 @06:52AM (#35973000)

    I still cannot understand the deal. What Nokia gains?

    The benefit is clear for Microsoft: they get exclusivity with one of the biggest phone makers of the world.

    But... what is the real benefit for Nokia?

    The CEO argues that they didn't want to be a "me too" Android developer. But, guess what? Microsoft doesn't allow companies to customize their user interface. That means that Nokia's Win7 phones will be exactly the same as HTC's and Motorola's Win7 phones. With Android, at least, Nokia could customize it.

    Or perhaps I missed the part where Microsoft would also offer exclusivity to Nokia?

    Though damn good hardware, Nokia had the by far most expensive and least successful software R&D. They get to rid themselves an extremely costly and at the same time dying (even if big, the trend was extremely negative) platform and ecosystem.

    As reported Google did try hard to win this deal too, all up to the end, the reasons Nokia have given for their choice was that they saw greater opportunity to differentiate with the Microsoft partnership, and saw a greater value and role for Nokia than in the Android ecosystem. Only time will tell what that means, nobody here knows. But we do know it has been said that allthough not exclusivity, Nokia will get very special privileges on customizing Phone7, contributing their own services to be included in the platform, and influence on future development of the OS.

    Some people make a big deal of the billion dollar figure. That is not very insightful, it is not really a significant figure for any of these companies in this context. Microsoft spent half of that on their Phone7 launch campaign for crying. This is decided by how they see the long term value, and though we do have a lot of armchair analyst here at Slashdots with deep insights and modelling of that, I would say it's impossible to say if this is a smart move by Nokia or not before we see the results.

  • Re:Afraid for Qt (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 29, 2011 @07:05AM (#35973042)

    I disagree. The fear for Qt isn't if Nokia will release it under a closed source license. Even without the Self Destruct, from what we have seen, I doubt Nokia wants to develop software closed or open.
    The problem mainly lies in keeping the project under the Nokia banner and slowly downsizing the number of developers, making it not so easy for outside/new developers to participate etc... Think OpenOffice style before the fork. OpenOffice was a pretty difficult project to work on and was rather stagnant, initiatives like Go-OO tried to solve that without forking and succeeded a little, but no one wanted to fork because the project was on the line between people wanting to fork and people just trying to tough it out. The Oracle deal was good in a way as it forced a proper fork and a real opening up of the project.

    There are currently not many outside developers working on Qt, if the number of developers in Nokia working on Qt were halved (or quartered (sp?) ) projects like Kde will most definitely feel it. And you might not know about the downsizing for quite a while (how many Nokia employees are working now on Qt? Really hard to say)

  • Re:The fine print: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Friday April 29, 2011 @08:13AM (#35973300) Homepage

    Tadah!!! You nailed it.

    I have seen this scenario play out more than once. The first time, I got a job with this agency who put me to work at Texas Instruments. Then I found out what happened and that I was "a scab." They promised T.I. that they could do the same job for less money using their same people. T.I. bought it, things did not go well for T.I. or the company or the people whose lives they screwed over. In time, I couldn't stomach it and simply left. It really disgusted me that much and disgusts me every time I see it happen.

  • Re:We're sorry (Score:2, Interesting)

    by faichai (166763) on Friday April 29, 2011 @08:43AM (#35973486) Homepage

    So having worked for Nokia previously (actually Symbian and then we got bought) I think the basic problem that they are trying to resolve is the sheer amount of dead weight the have in the organisaiton. There is a reason they have the most expensive and least productive R&D operation on the planet and that is because they get so little out of each employee. Most employees are jobsworths simply doing the minimum they can get away with without being fired.

    Think about it, all those employees, and they couldn't be co-ordinated to create a winning platform. Whilst there is definitely a degree of management failure, there is also a severe lack of personal responsibility and accountability at the lowest levels of the organisation. Moreover, with the long running drip feed of redundancies over the last few years, most of the talented, motivated engineers have left.

    The net result is that this has left a big soup of shit, that they call an R&D operation. I think that Elop has done the right thing by clearing the decks. Obviously a shame for some of the people, but life moves on. Once most of the existing people have gone, and legal obligations with regards to re-hiring roles you've made redundant have passed, I think Nokia will start re-building their R&D from the ground up to be more dynamic and more responsive to the market.

    Jury is still out on weather the MS deal is the right thing, and it certainly has the smell of Elop being exposed to a single ecosystem for so long that he wasn't really able to properly evaluate alternatives, but it is probably worth a try in the face of Android genericism. Although given Microsoft's double-take on Silverlight recently it's already starting to look a bit wonky.

    Interesting times.

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