Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nokia OpenSource Symbian ? eh, What?

This is a bit of a technical post, and lets face it, the musings of an outsider. I don't have any special knowledge, just some speculation to offer about why Nokia open-sourced Symbian and what it means for mobile services.

- Someone did the maths and figured out that they might get "linuxed". If they did not open source the developers would have to go elsewhere, eventually (Android, Red Hat, other). By opening up, they stand the chance of being "the developers friend" and retaining "third screen space" on the mobile device. How deeply they open up will be the telling point.

- Nokia need, and want, business users. This doesn't mean becoming "the next blackberry", it means being the "Anyberry", i.e. on any phone, anywhere, completely interoperable with your enterprise software. It also means inventing a whole new bunch of services, and delivering them through the network (nee cloud), to the end user enterprise.

- Hey, if you want to be "Anyberry", that would mean doing something with MSFT, right? I expect that integration with exchange will continue to erode RIM's dominance in business email messaging. MSFT & Nokia are compelling combination in this space. Of course, MSFT & Nortel are also getting very cosy around the Unified Communications space. Oh, and isn't Nortel on some kind of IBM middleware?

- Being interoperable, means middleware, and middleware means Eclipse. Funny how Eclipse was the only environment it was released into isn't it? Not really, IBM just released their big vision of the cloud, the grid, the big thingy in the sky. So IBM would really like to be your "Amazon for Hosted Business Services". Oh, and if you want to provide services to big companies, you better have a background in doing so. mmm... who would Nokia use to offer such services into the enterprise, who might Nokia trust to build their own Hosted Business Services?..... oh, and Dana Gardner points out that " needs a cloud story". Lots to ponder there.

- To do this properly, Nokia also needs to be "Nokia-Network-Inside" (see location based services plays, location based advertising, etc.). To be sure they have some network presence through joint ventures, but nothing as central as Cisco. So, what I would do is look to a hugely influential company, with a massive installed based of communication products, with a network presence and an enterprise footprint. What's going on in Nortel these days? Oh, hold on, aren't Nortel & MSFT doing some nice work together on UC for the Business, and didn't we just say that Nortel is built on some neat IBM middleware?

So the question might be, what part of the overall delivering services through the cloud story does the symbian purchase and outsource release? As many have pointed out, the new apple iPhone 2.0 does a neat side step around the carrier for managing notifications. That's all I'll say. I have to go away and take my medicine now. Upate: As per usual Martin Geddes nails it.

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