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7/17/2009
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Accenture Buys Symbian Services Unit From Nokia

Symbian OS is the world's most widely used smartphone platform, but it is facing increased competition from Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, and Research In Motion's BlackBerry.

Nokia sold its Symbian Professional Services unit to Accenture for an undisclosed amount, the companies said Friday.

The unit handles product development and engineering consulting services for the Symbian operating system and its clients include cellular carriers, chip manufacturers, and handset makers. The 165 employees of the division will transfer to Accenture, and the deal is expected to close in September.

Accenture said the deal will enable it to boost its mobile solutions products, as well as improve its mobile technical support, software development services, and device-tuning techniques.

"The capabilities we are acquiring from Nokia will help support the tremendous growth our clients can expect from the explosive adoption of converged mobile multimedia services and will expand Accenture's role as a key supplier of new tools, products and solutions to clients in this industry," said Jean Laurent Poitou, Accenture's managing director, in a statement.

This move enables the world's largest cell phone maker to put some more distance between itself and the Symbian operating system. Symbian OS is the world's most widely used smartphone platform, but it is facing increased competition from Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, and Research In Motion's BlackBerry. To counter this, Nokia bought the remaining shares of Symbian for $410 million with the goal of spinning it into an open source, royalty-free operating system.

To achieve this goal, the company established the independent Symbian Foundation. Its members include Nokia, Samsung, Vodafone, Sony Ericsson, and other major industry players. Nokia said it is adamantly behind the platform for its smartphones, and the sale of the support division could sever any lingering perceptions that Nokia has more influence over the foundation than other members.


Nokia's decision to create the Symbian Foundation and to open up the OS should have major ramifications throughout the smartphone market. InformationWeek evaluated the impact of this move, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).

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