Rumour: Symbian Foundation to be wound up? [Updated: Probably]

by Ben Smith on 19th October 2010

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File this firmly in the ‘unconfirmed’ tray, but a super-secret source contacted us a few days ago with news that the Symbian Foundation is to be wound up. The wheels are - apparently - already in motion and today’s news that CEO Lee Williams is leaving (immediately) for ‘personal reasons’ appears to chime with this.

This move – far from killing the Symbian OS itself – may actually go some way to improve things, freeing the platform from the ‘decision making by committee’ which many believe  (OK… well… I do) has hamstrung development of the platform. This would effectively hand control back to Nokia who ship 90% of the world’s Symbian handsets anyway.

A number of big-name manufacturers (Samsung and Sony Ericsson) have recently stopped developing Symbian-based products to put their focus on other platforms and the biggest of the remaining ones (primarily the Japanese market) could easily work directly with Nokia on future development.

The required meetings are still to happen (we hear), but any official news on this will probably be released at SEE 2010 starting on the 9th November.

Update: The Register is also now also claiming the Symbian Foundation is to be wound up:

This week, the Foundation had announced the sudden and immediate resignation of executive director Lee Williams for “personal reasons” and his replacement by CFO Tim Holbrow.

But a source close to Symbian has told The Reg that Holbrow has been appointed to wind down operations and that Foundation employees are being offered redundancy packages.

…Holbrow is a permanent replacement for Williams, indicating Symbian’s focus is now operations rather than technology or community development, by virtue of Holbrow’s financial background. … Symbian’s fiscal year starts in April, meaning Holbrow’s got six months to wrap things up. Otherwise, business spills over into the new financial year.

Lack of funding would seem to be the reason Holbrow must wind-down the Foundation.

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