Nokia prepares to officially end the Symbian era

Nokia prepares to officially end the Symbian era

Its rapidly diminishing fortunes have relegated its last rites to a mere formality, but Nokia will nonetheless officially call time on the Symbian era this summer.

The Finns will officially bring to an end deliveries of its Symbian devices over the next few months, more than a year earlier than Nokia intended when announcing it would switch to Microsoft's Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform back in February 2011.

That was the first notable act of then-new CEO Stephen Elop, who guaranteed the phrase “burning platform” would be permanently etched into every Nokia fan's mobile lexicon by likening the company's position to that of a man on a burning North Sea oil platform facing a choice between being consumed by flames or jumping into the ice-cold water.

It's fair to say some will still be looking at the chilling reality of a single-digit market share after two years buddying up to Microsoft and point out that at least they were warm on the platform, but it's certainly too late to go back now.

Symbian was once the leading smartphone OS on the planet, of course, and it may surprise some to hear Nokia still actually sold half a million Symbian phones in Q1 of this year. In truth its decline has been swifter in some markets than in others – in China, for instance, it still accounts for 2% of smartphone sales.

Overall, though, the trend is only in one direction, and in truth was heading that way even before Elop's 1'300-word internal memo leaked more than two years ago now.

Once the truth came out, though, and Nokia decided to abandon MeeGo altogether and gradually phase out Symbian as its Windows Phone lineup established itself, the plan was for Symbian to still keep pushing on longer than it has.

Elop said at the time Nokia would sell 150 million Symbian phones “over the next few years”, and that support and updates for Symbian devices would continue until 2016. That clearly won't happen now, while I'd love to see a number for how many Symbian phones have sold since February 2011. It certainly won't be anywhere near 150 million.

Times have changed faster than even Elop's worst guess predicted, and so his decision to risk it all by leaping from the platform two years ago was probably the right one. What remains very much in doubt is whether jumping on board with Microsoft and embracing Windows Phone was the best response.

Regardless of how that works out, though, in the end Symbian will disappear for good this summer with a whimper rather than a bang – in fact, probably not even a whimper. It's hard not to feel it deserved better.

Via FT

Add a comment

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 12, 2013 at 16:38

I wouldn't mind an N91, E71, N8 and E7... as mementos. C'mon, Mr Elop. I'm corruptible!

AhmadCentral  Jun. 13, 2013 at 00:32



JanSt / MOD  Jun. 13, 2013 at 06:39

Ahmad, did I detect a hint if sarcasm?

B1zarr0Prim3  Jun. 13, 2013 at 08:50

That headline makes me sad :(


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