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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

News: Symbian dismisses Google Android

Symbian phones
Symbian powers more than 165 million phones
Google's dominance of the web will not translate to the mobile phone market, a senior executive at Symbian has said.

John Forsyth, vice president of strategy at Symbian, the platform that powers many of the world's phones, said Google lacked experience.

Google has formed an alliance with 33 firms to develop an open platform for mobile phones, called Android.

Meanwhile, the head of Nokia in the UK said the firm was in discussions with Google about using the platform.

Simon Ainslie, Nokia UK's managing director, said: "We are always open to discussion and debate on that. We were not ready to make any commitment to it or discuss it at the time."

"We are having ongoing discussions with Google."

'Very happy'

Mr Ainslie said the time was not right to make any announcement as to "how we can work with them".

He also said that Nokia was very happy with its partnership with Symbian.

He said: "It's the world's most used platform. It's not a simple solution to make a platform work on a mobile."

It's a bit like the common cold. It keeps coming round and then we go back to business
John Forsyth, Symbian, on the Open Handset Alliance

Mr Forsyth said Google had to be aware that making a "mobile OS is a very specialised form of rocket science.

"It's not search rocket science."

He said the alliance was yet another attempt to launch a Linux-based operating system to drive mobile phones.

"About every three months this year there has been a mobile Linux initiative of some sort launched.

"It's a bit like the common cold. It keeps coming round and then we go back to business. We don't participate in these full stop. We make our own platform and we are focused on driving that into the mobile phone market at large ever more aggressively."

Symbian's recent financial results show it sold 20.4m smartphone software licenses in the last quarter of 2007 and since the company was launched nine years ago more than 165 million phones have been shipped using its platform.

'Deeply unsexy'

Mr Forsyth said there was nothing to indicate that Google's dominance of the web would make it successful as a mobile phone platform provider.

"Search and a mobile phone platform are completely different things.

"It's costly, arduous and at times a deeply unsexy job of supporting customers day by day in launching phones. That's something there's very little experience of in Google's environment.

"if you are a serious phone maker and you are asked to bet your handsets on somebody, you would want to bet on someone with a track record of delivery and support."

Mr Forsyth also questioned whether developers would flock to the system.

"It's very clear what developers want - volume and a stable platform that doesn't keep breaking. You have to have a lot of zeroes in your sales figures before a developer gets out of bed.

"They are talking about having a phone by the end of next year. It's not one that is going to ignite developers."

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