Nokia Closes the Book on Symbian

by Matt Klassen on January 3, 2014

“That was it; we are officially closed. Thank you all for the past years!” the tweet from the Symbian Signed team read earlier this week. The centerpiece of Nokia’s faded dominance, long put to pasture, the fate of Nokia’s Symbian operating system had never really been in question. All but defunct following its failed bid to compete with the likes of Android and iOS, Nokia started off the year by officially closing the book on Symbian, ceasing all support for the OS and its sibling MeeGo platform, marking the unceremonious end of this notable chapter in mobile history.

Now don’t get me wrong, Symbian was never really a success in the mobile market, but Nokia was able to build much of its mobile empire on the back of early renderings of the operating system. But like Nokia itself, Symbian had trouble adjusting to life in the smartphone world, a sure sign that its days were numbered.

This move to stop supporting Symbian and MeeGo really comes as no surprise though; the company had announced the move earlier in 2013 when Microsoft purchased its mobile handset division, stating that it would stop producing new apps or updating existing apps for the two practically defunct platforms. That day has now arrived.

“With the growing business opportunities available on the Asha and Windows Phone platforms, we have been reviewing our developer content programs to see how we can maximize our support to you, our developers,” Nokia wrote in October. “As a result of this review, we have decided to focus our support and investment in new content toward Asha and Windows Phone.”

While abandoning Symbian and MeeGo is certainly no surprise, given that Nokia ostensibly did that already when it offloaded the platforms to other interested partners, I have to wonder about the Finnish company’s overall mobile strategy going forward, or why it would even have one?

Having sold its mobile division to Microsoft Nokia made a clear statement, it had finally realized what the rest of us had known for some time, the company couldn’t compete. The mobile market had passed Nokia by, and the Finnish company had never been able to regain any significant traction.

Naturally one would have thought that by offloading its mobile division the company would have little interest in the mobile market going forward—save a future as a patent troll perhaps—but here we have Nokia releasing official statements about ongoing support for both its Windows and Asha platforms.

That said, following Symbian’s prolonged death throes the final end came surprisingly quick, as Nokia gave Symbian developers only three months to make any final changes to their apps, closing off the option for any new material or further updates on January 1st.

While I would doubt that many will miss Symbian, particularly as it was never able to match the functionality and intuitive interface found in Android and iOS, this marks the end of a significant chapter in mobile history, where yet one more early competitor in the mobile market has fallen by the wayside.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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