Nokia Will Not Take Control of Symbian

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One of the most important questions of this year, whether the Symbian OS would remain independent or if it would come under the control of Nokia, has now been answered.

In February, Psion announced a plan to sell its 31.1 percent of the Symbian software group to Nokia, which would have given Nokia a controlling stake in this company. However, this proved to be very controversial, and the other investors in Symbian expressed a strong interest in keeping the Symbian OS from being under the thumb of any single company.

Today, Symbian Limited announced a plan that would divide up Psion’s shares among all the shareholders, with no company gaining enough to take control.

Still, after the division, Nokia will be far and away the largest shareholder with 47.9 percent of the company. The next closest is Ericsson, which will own 15.6 percent. Next there will be Sony Ericsson with 13.1 percent, Panasonic with 10.5 percent, Siemens with 8.4 percent, and Samsung with just 4.5 percent.

All of these companies make smartphones running the Symbian OS, although Nokia makes more than any of the others. Together, they have made Symbian the most used smart phone operating system worldwide.

It has never been particularly clear as to whether Nokia actually wanted to take over Symbian, or was simply willing to do so when Psion wanted out of the partnership. Nokia said months ago it was agreeable to the idea of dividing Psion’s shares up among all the partners, as long as all the companies were willing to invest the required money.

Other Changes

In addition, the various partners will contribute some extra cash to Symbian Limited. It will receive an additional 50 million pounds (about $92 million) per year, which will be used, among other things, to increase the number of Symbian employees from 900 to 1,200.

Also, the partners have decided to appoint an independent, non-executive Chairman to the Symbian Limited Board.

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