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Nokia Outsources Symbian OS Work

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the symbionia-is-near-elbonia dept.

Cellphones 179

angry tapir writes "Nokia will outsource its Symbian software activities to Accenture, transferring 3,000 employees to the company in the process, as it moves its focus to making phones running on Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system. The Finnish phone manufacturer will also close some of its research and development sites and eliminate a further 4,000 jobs by the end of next year. Last week Nokia announced the signing of a definitive agreement regarding their global mobile ecosystem partnership."

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179 comments

We're sorry (5, Insightful)

b100dian (771163) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972744)

We're sorry Nokia, we don't know of anyone surviving Microsoft deals.

Re:We're sorry (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972762)

We're sorry Nokia, we don't know of anyone surviving Microsoft deals.

Sybase and Citrix are the only ones that spring to mind. I'd say this one is going to play out more like Sendo, though.

Re:We're sorry (1)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973264)

Man, I loved my Sendo X. Lovely phone.

Unusable broken radio, of course, and the delay of getting the OS updates through the carrier meant Microsoft had bankrupted them before they fixed it, but still...

Sybase has been dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973624)

for a while now....they're just moving on momentum.

Re:We're sorry (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972766)

HTC?

Re:We're sorry (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972824)

I still cannot understand the deal. What Nokia gains?

The benefit is clear for Microsoft: they get exclusivity with one of the biggest phone makers of the world.

But... what is the real benefit for Nokia?

The CEO argues that they didn't want to be a "me too" Android developer. But, guess what? Microsoft doesn't allow companies to customize their user interface. That means that Nokia's Win7 phones will be exactly the same as HTC's and Motorola's Win7 phones. With Android, at least, Nokia could customize it.

Or perhaps I missed the part where Microsoft would also offer exclusivity to Nokia?

Re:We're sorry (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972890)

I don't think there's any benefit for Nokia. Looks like Microsoft and Accenture planted Trojan horses inside the Nokia board to help them bleed it dry. It's not like it never happened before, specially in government.

Re:We're sorry (1)

Owy (978578) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972920)

Only the 1 billion $ they received from Micro$oft for the deal...

Re:We're sorry (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973226)

The "they" you speak of does not include the majority of employees and their families that are having their lives changed for the worse. That's the real tragedy and the people we are saying "we're sorry" to. Those with golden parachutes who helped to make it all happen will, of course benefit from all of this and will be celebrated as brilliant business men by their peers.

It's just a huge shame that in order for those few to benefit, so many others have to suffer. It must be quite a burden on those few to know what they are doing to so many in exchange for personal gain. Oh wait, there I go thinking like myself instead of remembering that these are the actions of sociopaths by definition. They simply don't care who they hurt along the way.

Re:We're sorry (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973542)

The flip side of that is that it's been sadly obvious for a long time that Symbian was going to be the next casualty in the marketplace. At some point people are contributing to these life issues themselves by choosing to place their hopes on the future of Symbian. Not a good bet.

Re:We're sorry (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973000)

I still cannot understand the deal. What Nokia gains?

The benefit is clear for Microsoft: they get exclusivity with one of the biggest phone makers of the world.

But... what is the real benefit for Nokia?

The CEO argues that they didn't want to be a "me too" Android developer. But, guess what? Microsoft doesn't allow companies to customize their user interface. That means that Nokia's Win7 phones will be exactly the same as HTC's and Motorola's Win7 phones. With Android, at least, Nokia could customize it.

Or perhaps I missed the part where Microsoft would also offer exclusivity to Nokia?

Though damn good hardware, Nokia had the by far most expensive and least successful software R&D. They get to rid themselves an extremely costly and at the same time dying (even if big, the trend was extremely negative) platform and ecosystem.

As reported Google did try hard to win this deal too, all up to the end, the reasons Nokia have given for their choice was that they saw greater opportunity to differentiate with the Microsoft partnership, and saw a greater value and role for Nokia than in the Android ecosystem. Only time will tell what that means, nobody here knows. But we do know it has been said that allthough not exclusivity, Nokia will get very special privileges on customizing Phone7, contributing their own services to be included in the platform, and influence on future development of the OS.

Some people make a big deal of the billion dollar figure. That is not very insightful, it is not really a significant figure for any of these companies in this context. Microsoft spent half of that on their Phone7 launch campaign for crying. This is decided by how they see the long term value, and though we do have a lot of armchair analyst here at Slashdots with deep insights and modelling of that, I would say it's impossible to say if this is a smart move by Nokia or not before we see the results.

Re:We're sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973036)

Nokia gains the front seat in bitch slapping iPhone into yesterdays news. Don't underestimate Nokia, they are for the lack of a better word, the IE6's of the phone market.

Re:We're sorry (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973260)

iPhone will wither way on its own. The iPhone has lost its shiny-newness already. When the white phones came out, I saw no lines outside of the Apple store where I live. Many iPhone users I know have given up their iPhone in favor of android.... admittedly, some because of AT&T and their tactics, but they didn't move to Verizon so they could keep using iPhone either. The iPhone "surge" is over. People know what it is, what it can do, and more importantly, what it can't or "won't be allowed" to do.

Nokia Windows phones aren't going to bitch slap anyone. Microsoft is too late to the party and too slow to adapt. Of the 250 people where I work, exactly one person I know had ever bought a Windows phone and she kept it for about a week. That's not a large enough sampling to suggest that is what we can expect all over, but as it is now, it doesn't paint a nice picture. (The rest of the people are using iPhone, various androids and blackberries where iPhone is a close second to Androids and Blackberries not far behind that... the ratios are all very close.)

Re:We're sorry (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973572)

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Windows Phone is never going to eclipse iOS in the mobile space.

Sorry to have to put on my Captain Obvious cape.

Re:We're sorry (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973194)

But... what is the real benefit for Nokia?

4 Billion Finmark

Re:We're sorry (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973216)

I still cannot understand the deal. What Nokia gains?

First, they gain a billion dollars. Then they get to concentrate on what they're good at (hardware development) and outsource the software to a company with a proven track record of developing software that people buy. Remember that Nokia has never been very strong on the software side[1]. They bought Symbian and Qt, they didn't create either in house, and both projects ended up with a mess due to poor management.

[1] Actually, that's not quite fair. They're very good on the embedded software side, where they have very strict hardware constraints and simpler requirements. They are not very good at taking advantage of the better hardware.

Re:We're sorry (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973418)

with a proven track record of developing software that people buy

How many people do you know with a WinCE (or whatever their last name was) phone? If they wanted proven track record, they would have gone with Android, which is the only option with a significant market share atm (I doubt Apple's going to licence them iOS). Windows mobile platform is essentially non-existent at the moment.

Re:We're sorry (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973596)

Not just WinCE but the prior Windows Phone systems were just dire.

WP7 is years late and several dollars short at imitating Apple.

Re:We're sorry (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973220)

That means that Nokia's Win7 phones will be exactly the same as HTC's and Motorola's Win7 phones.

Maybe not - everybody but Nokia soon will jump off Win7 phone disaster train. Nokia might very well be only company using Win7 phone.

Re:We're sorry (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973720)

Nokia might very well be only company using Win7 phone.

No doubt they'll spin that as having exclusivity.

"We're not surrounded, we're operating on interior lines."
    --
    GW Custer.

Re:We're sorry (1)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973230)

Nokia gains nothing. But Nokia started to lose a few years ago when they simply refused to realize how the iPhone was going to change everything. They should in fact have been the one developing the iPhone- they have been distributing phones capable of running apps since .. I dunno, 2004-2005? Somewhere in the S60-series. Of course, they were too inept to realize how apps must be distributed: Easily installable.

It is not accidental that Nokia created something great but failed to capitalize upon what they created: Nokia is an engineering-oriented company with a poor understanding of business and usability. They created a good start, but failed to realize what they had created. Allegedly the Symbian development kit was also rather complex, unfriendly and complex. So, a complete lack of imagination and focus has ensured Google and Apple has killed Nokia's dominance by extending Nokia's ideas with a solid development kit and usability improvements. Solid engineering alone is not enough when you interact with "real" people.

Re:We're sorry (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973280)

"The CEO argues that they didn't want to be a "me too" Android developer."

So the "EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!" mantra of Microsoft is a better choice? That is a load of BS.

The CEO wants Microsoft because of the large amount of money he will be getting out of making sure the deal happens. Anything else he claims is simply hogwash.

Re:We're sorry (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973614)

Nokia can't sell phones in the United States anymore because they don't have a mobile OS that anyone wants. Selling their soul to Ballmer gets them back into the US market. They'll be in the major carriers' stores, and sell phones because of it. Not that hard to fathom...

Re:We're sorry (2)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972846)

Apple [wikipedia.org] comes to mind, although that deal ended pretty quickly, since it was meant as a psychological statement, not as a real business agreement.

Re:We're sorry (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972928)

What about Intel?

Re:We're sorry (2, Insightful)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972998)

When a company starts shedding employees (Our Most Valuable Resource (TM)) like a Labrador Retriever sheds hair, it's pretty well the start of the end.

Re:We're sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973048)

Or the takeover of US business practices....
I am pretty sure the current CEO will get the golden parachute in about three years and Nokia is in the gutters.

Re:We're sorry (2, Interesting)

faichai (166763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973486)

So having worked for Nokia previously (actually Symbian and then we got bought) I think the basic problem that they are trying to resolve is the sheer amount of dead weight the have in the organisaiton. There is a reason they have the most expensive and least productive R&D operation on the planet and that is because they get so little out of each employee. Most employees are jobsworths simply doing the minimum they can get away with without being fired.

Think about it, all those employees, and they couldn't be co-ordinated to create a winning platform. Whilst there is definitely a degree of management failure, there is also a severe lack of personal responsibility and accountability at the lowest levels of the organisation. Moreover, with the long running drip feed of redundancies over the last few years, most of the talented, motivated engineers have left.

The net result is that this has left a big soup of shit, that they call an R&D operation. I think that Elop has done the right thing by clearing the decks. Obviously a shame for some of the people, but life moves on. Once most of the existing people have gone, and legal obligations with regards to re-hiring roles you've made redundant have passed, I think Nokia will start re-building their R&D from the ground up to be more dynamic and more responsive to the market.

Jury is still out on weather the MS deal is the right thing, and it certainly has the smell of Elop being exposed to a single ecosystem for so long that he wasn't really able to properly evaluate alternatives, but it is probably worth a try in the face of Android genericism. Although given Microsoft's double-take on Silverlight recently it's already starting to look a bit wonky.

Interesting times.

Re:We're sorry (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973078)

Like Dell?

Re:We're sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973658)

Yep. It amazes me the hubris of companies that think they can actually "partner" with MS and somehow come out better for it. Despite many many outcries from the community and people who knew better, RIP Novell.

Nokia? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972746)

Wasn't that the mobile phone company that used to develop great cell phone operating systems before it was bought by Microsoft? Are they still around?

Re:Nokia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972788)

You're mostly reinventing history. Symbian never was a good OS; it was a bitch to program. Its only redeeming quality was that it was phone centric with OKish PDA functionality in a world where Windows CE was the only competition, a desktop centric OS ported to PDAs with horrible phone functionality.
Nokia was good because of the flawless hardware; I'd kill to have an updated N95 running Android.

Re:Nokia? (4, Insightful)

thaig (415462) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972944)

It has a good kernel and a very comprehensive API and Qt made the "bitch to program" thing considerably less of a problem but it was still a bitch to progam for the people working on the middleware and non-Qt user code. and consumer electronics companies tend not to see why they need to make their engineers more productive and how it requires that they produce different types of products (e.g. ones with enough RAM).

It was all the fault of Symbian Ltd for determinedly ignoring the programming problems years ago and of Nokia for being a bad customer and trying to push all the things that lead to the disaster and to both of them for ignoring the fact that higher performance hardware was coming and tha tpeople actualy would pay for it. Their entire focus was on trying to move down ro cheaper hardware and they dug themselves deeply into a hole before admitting the need for a 180 degree turn.

It's just a classic case of people "optimizing" something and of time making their optimisations first irrelevant and then a terrible burden.

Nokia could have fixed their problems at many points and didn't because the short term pain would have been high. Now it's much higher.

Re:Nokia? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973244)

It was all the fault of Symbian Ltd for determinedly ignoring the programming problems years ago

Years ago, they weren't problems. When phones had 4MB of RAM or less, they were useful features. Being able to save a few bytes in common data structures by increasing the programmer's workload was the correct thing to do, because it was the only way to squeeze complex programs into that small a space. When RAM was expensive, being able to get a similar user experience from a machine with 2MB of RAM as your competitors got from a machine with 8MB was a huge competitive advantage for hardware makers. It's only in the last few years that phones have started having 64MB or more of RAM and the waste of a couple of megabytes per application doesn't seem so bad.

Re:Nokia? (1)

thaig (415462) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973622)

That's like saying that its failure was inevitable because you couldn't be a working OS in the past and a powerful one in the present. I agree that their choices were not wrong for everything but they did not prepare for a different future - where's the equivalent for Symbian of Android's Dalvik or Windows mobile's Silverlight? I'm not really so familiar with iOS but at least Objective-C is "all virtual" afaik and there is quite a powerful and mature framework for desktop-sized applications..

The only clearly stupid idea was to write in C++ wih exceptions etc before any of the compilers supported it properly. Oh, and platsec was also stupid - simply killed all interest and prevented an ecosystem from happening (never seen suich a case of own foot shooting). Death before insecurity - death it is then.

A less clear but still stupid thing was to believe that code would be ported to Symbian. iOS and Android benefit from being able to use POSIX code defeloped for Linux, FreeBSD, solaris etc etc. With Symbian every conversion is a terrifying effort and once done, hard to maintain. By choosing to go the "odd C++" route, Symbian cut itself off from the industry. Symbian people seemed to imagine that it would become its own standard and that such things wouldn't matter. Oops.

A final thing that was silly was the idea of "binary compatibility forever" - something that didn't work all that well in practise and doesn't matter at all now that Symbian isn't going to be here anymore.

Re:Nokia? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973286)

REally? then why are there far more Symbian apps out there than the Android apps and iphone apps combined?

Re:Nokia? (1)

Ndymium (1282596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972826)

Great? Are you really calling Symbian OS great? For dumbphones perhaps, but... Or maybe you referred to Maemo. Wait, that wasn't so great either. Maybe if they had given it time to mature. Alas, towards yet another OS we go, let's hope this one goes a little better.

Re:Nokia? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973070)

It might not be great in terms of apps. But from my experience Symbian OS requires much less hardware and gives you way more battery time than most of the comptetors. I haven't seen a single Android/iOS device that's had a similar battery lifetime to a symbian device.

And... it's stable. Where I've been able to crash Android and iOS devices quite often, I only rarely succeed in doing so with Symbian.

Re:Nokia? (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972876)

Wasn't that the mobile phone company that used to develop great cell phone operating systems before it was bought by Microsoft? Are they still around?

Maybe the issue is that phone companies should not try to develop operating systems and leave that to software companies with expertise in operating systems.

Do not know how great Symbian was (some people here disagrees with you), but what I know from the news was that Nokia did not end in a great position using this strategy...

Smug wanker much? (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973056)

Maybe the issue is that phone companies should not try to develop operating systems and leave that to software companies with expertise in operating systems.

Well aren't you the business guru! Because that's pretty much how it happened. Symbian was developed by a separate organization of which Nokia were just one partner. And it was based on EPOC, a very fine OS developed by Psion for their PDAs. You won't have heard of them, but they were a bloody good software company in their day.

The problem wasn't the OS itself, it's that Nokia couldn't develop decent user-facing apps if their immortal souls depended on it.

Fear of commoditization ruined Nokia (2)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972770)

Really sad to see that Nokia didn't have the confidence in their hardware design and manufacture skill to give Android a chance. They never were in a position to build a proper platform for the current generation of smartphones, so instead they sold their soul to MicroSoft for scraps.

Seriously, if you dismiss the future due to low margin of commodity platforms you better have something amazing to sell, like Apple does.

Re:Fear of commoditization ruined Nokia (0)

umghhh (965931) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972832)

It must be said though that albeit amazing for general public iPhones and other gadgets from Apple are not so much of an amazement for an average engineer that cares about good tools s/he uses. It is indeed interesting to observe that diminishing margins mean for an established company with a lot of legacy software a problem because of costs of this legacy. Attempts to produce things on the cheap mean they look for shortcuts which only decrease quality not costs. My company goes the same path Nokia (and Nokia-Simens, I am sure there are other examples) went: lay-offs, scrum introduction and oblivion. It is really fun to observe how managers this sort of exercise announce success and depart before company collapses.

I guess the way for such companies is really what I think some other vendors do: produce radio platform that is then sold to others that cannot do it on their own (Apple???) of course that works only if these others are ready to pay for it and not hire lawyers to bypass expensive development stages and just steal the radio part with impunity (Apple???). Of course that is a drastic reduction in production volumes in existing areas. Steel industry workers did have to go trough this I guess Nokia is no better then?

Re:Fear of commoditization ruined Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972852)

If the problem was "fear of commoditization", why did Nokia chose the platform that can't be freely customized?

If Nokia adopted Android, they could still customize the interface, like HTC does. But, no, they chose Win Phone 7, a closed-source product that can't be customized.

I don't think you can do anything "amazing" with a smartphone unless you modify the operating system. Will Microsoft allow Nokia to do that?

If not, Nokia's Win7 phones will look exactly like HTC's Win7 phones.

Microsoft wins a huge vendor, Nokia looses any possibility of differentiation.

What did they expect to win, again?

Re:Fear of commoditization ruined Nokia (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973214)

If Nokia adopted Android, they could still customize the interface, like HTC does. But, no, they chose Win Phone 7, a closed-source product that can't be customized.

Perhaps that will change. I guess we don't know all the details of the deal.

Having said that, if Nokia fiddle around with it they'll probably make it worse.

Re:Fear of commoditization ruined Nokia (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972872)

a lot of the problem is that a large number of the work force had nothing good to do, symbian surviving or not, so if you looked at the past 3 years and then what software product the huge machine produced, you'd be transferring the so called workforce to accenture too.

like, they've been holding yearly coop(layoff) talks for a decade. but still churning profit.

Re:Fear of commoditization ruined Nokia (2)

doomsday_device (1063146) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972884)

Really sad to see that Nokia didn't have the confidence in their hardware design and manufacture skill to give Android a chance.

You know, lack of confidence can be a realistic assesment.

Nokia's has been notorious for their lack of precision in gap dimensions (i'm not sure if that is the correct term as english is not my first language, and I'm not a mechanical engineer). As a result, stuff can get in front of your display and ambient humidity can get to the electronics.

It's been this way for ages.

That was maybe acceptable 10 years ago. But today, as you can buy superbly assembled phones from chinese and korean manufacturers, I think they won't be able to differentiate themselves from other android phones.

In a positive sense, at least.

Re:Fear of commoditization ruined Nokia (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973308)

If you make your phone easy to disassemble for repair you have gap problems. if you seal the damn thing up tight so it's throwaway, you can do what apple, motorola and HTC are doing now. NONE of them are making a proper sealed phone that should be able to handle use in the rain.

And yes I love my otterbox case on my phone.. I can use my phone in the rain without tripping moisture sensors.

An idea (1)

Framboise (521772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972784)

What if they would for once slightly innovate and put one or two Kinects in a smartphone? Could this save Nokia of a sure oblivion?

Re:An idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972790)

They would need to use at lest four or five Kinects per phone to create a compelling product.

Re:An idea (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973336)

Don't know about kinects, but I say 'kin 'ell pretty much every time I pick up my E71.

They were our best hope.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972792)

.. for a truly free and open smartphone. One where no personal data was collected and sent to the maker or third party without explicit consent. One where you wouldn't need to wonder about "what else" the app you were using was doing. One where you could freely decide for yourself which OS to run. One where you were free to recompile any app for performance or security reasons. One that gave anybody the freedom to code an app in any language they saw fit.

Now the only other big player supporting a free OS for handsets is Intel, but they understandably are more focused on netbooks and tablets. Well, let's hope it's not too late for us true geeks and tinkerers, who prefer freedom over nicely packaged, bite-sized pieces of fudge served in a golden cage.

Re:They were our best hope.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972860)

I agree that things look dim, but in addition to Intel — LG maybe able to throw its hat into the Meego ring [meegoexperts.com] .

My N900 is great and I'd hate to move off that platform.

Re:They were our best hope.. (1)

dafing (753481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972894)

My N900 is great and I'd hate to move off that platform.

Wait, Meego was a "platform"? You mean there was more than just the N900? :-)

But seriously, try Android or iOS, both are great, anything else is utter crap in 2011.

Re:They were our best hope.. (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973152)

Wait, Meego was a "platform"? You mean there was more than just the N900? :-)

It is still a platform even if it never really catches on. I still think both Maemo and Meego could've been real hits if Nokia had had the courage to see things through and management didn't try to screw everything up twice a month, but...

But seriously, try Android or iOS, both are great, anything else is utter crap in 2011.

I personally enjoy my Maemo thoroughly and I see both Android and iOS as inferior. Sooner or later I will have to get a newer phone but that won't be for a long time still, and it'll likely be Android because I really dislike anything Apple and I don't think Win7 Phone will ever truly catch on.

Re:They were our best hope.. (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973202)

You know Maemo is solidly based on Debian?

Had they spend the past 18 months further developing the system they would judging by the N900 (from Q4-2009) have had a winner.

Re:They were our best hope.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972912)

.. for a truly free and open smartphone. One where no personal data was collected and sent to the maker or third party without explicit consent. One where you wouldn't need to wonder about "what else" the app you were using was doing. One where you could freely decide for yourself which OS to run. One where you were free to recompile any app for performance or security reasons. One that gave anybody the freedom to code an app in any language they saw fit.

Now the only other big player supporting a free OS for handsets is Intel, but they understandably are more focused on netbooks and tablets. Well, let's hope it's not too late for us true geeks and tinkerers, who prefer freedom over nicely packaged, bite-sized pieces of fudge served in a golden cage.

Jesu Christos on a tostada, man. Your kind has been bragging for decades that you could go down to the local parts store and whip up a computer which beat the hell out of anything sold retail. Do the same thing with a phone, now.

Re:They were our best hope.. (1, Troll)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972934)

.. for a truly free and open smartphone. One where no personal data was collected and sent to the maker or third party without explicit consent. One where you wouldn't need to wonder about "what else" the app you were using was doing. One where you could freely decide for yourself which OS to run. One where you were free to recompile any app for performance or security reasons. One that gave anybody the freedom to code an app in any language they saw fit.

The Free Software Foundation (NASDAQ: RMS) has announced the Free Software alternative to the evil, DRM-infested, locked-down, defective-by-design iPhone: the GNUPhone [newstechnica.com] .

The key technical innovation of the GNUPhone is that it is completely operated from the command line. "What could be more intuitive than a bash prompt?" said seventeen-year-old Debian developer Hiram Nerdboy. "The ultimate one-dimensional desktop! Just type dial voice +1-555-1212 --ntwk verizon --prot cdma2000 --ssh-version 2 -a -l -q -9 -b -k -K 14 -x and away you go! Simple and obvious!"

The phone will also serve as a versatile personal media player. "I can play any .au file or H.120 video with a single shell command! The iPod could never measure up to this powerful ease of use." Video is rendered into ASCII art with aalib. "If blocky ASCII teletype softcore pinups were good enough for 1970s minicomputer operators, they're good enough for you. Respect your elders."

The KDE project will be bringing its next-generation KDE 4 desktop to the GNUPhone. "you can flip, twirl, dice, blend, fold, spindle and mutilate your terminal windows to your heart's content," said developer Aaron Seigo. "look at that cool effect! any complaint that basic functions don't actually work is ignorant of the intrinsic beauty of the plasma api and is just more fud spread by haters like stevie ray vaughan-nichols and novell corporation."

Actual successful voice calls are expected by 2013 to 2014. Regulatory approval is proving problematic in the corrupt, corporate-captured US environment. "The FCC said that if we dared switch on this, uh, 'piece of shit' in a built-up area in its present form, they'd break all our fingers with a fourteen-pound cluebat," said Nerdboy. "They're obviously shilling for Apple, Nokia and Microsoft."

The second version of the GNUPhone will run EMACS on the HURD kernel and be operated by writing eLisp macros on the fly. "It's the clearest, most elegant and natural operating environment anyone could conceive of," said Nerdboy. "Really, we're not out to destroy Apple; that will just be a completely unintentional side effect."

Re:They were our best hope.. (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973064)

.. for a truly free and open smartphone. One where no personal data was collected and sent to the maker or third party without explicit consent.

So what's wrong with running CyanogenMod Android without any of the Google apps if that's your definition of a smart phone? Why would Nokia's phone (be it based on Symbian or Meego) be any less likely to engage in the kinds of other things smart phones do?

The fine print: (5, Insightful)

korgitser (1809018) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972808)

Nokia outsources the elimination of 3000 jobs and the killing of Symbian.

Re:The fine print: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972818)

More like Nokia just found a way to not have to pay uneployment and benfits for 3,000 workers. My work is pulling this BS with their IT department right now.

Re:The fine print: (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973300)

Tadah!!! You nailed it.

I have seen this scenario play out more than once. The first time, I got a job with this agency who put me to work at Texas Instruments. Then I found out what happened and that I was "a scab." They promised T.I. that they could do the same job for less money using their same people. T.I. bought it, things did not go well for T.I. or the company or the people whose lives they screwed over. In time, I couldn't stomach it and simply left. It really disgusted me that much and disgusts me every time I see it happen.

Re:The fine print: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973540)

Jepp thats the idea behind it, sell off the department, so that you can get rid of the pesky contracts and then accidenture will slowly kill it off and keep some of them for other tasks.

Re:The fine print: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972940)

Better headline: Nokia announces continuing plans for implosion and self-destruction

Re:The fine print: (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973436)

Accenture? Could they have chosen anyone worse?

They're messing up the dumb phones now? (3, Interesting)

nzac (1822298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972830)

I thought they still dominated this sector?

How can the shareholders think this is profitable? While is good for the short term without Symbian continuing they will potentially faid to being irrelevant killing the share price.

Re:They're messing up the dumb phones now? (4, Funny)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973236)

they had unprotected relations with ms and contracted a ceo

Re:They're messing up the dumb phones now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973388)

What shareholders? They are running away in droves! (At least those who get whatâ(TM)s going on. The rest deserves the losses.)

To us developers, Nokia is already dead.

These articles are hilarious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972840)

Apparently Nokia has been really innovative over the past few years coming up with loads of great products and not losing market share at all! Also they are not some giant evil corporation that mostly sells over priced locked down phones and they are committed to an open source Symbian OS which is making them lots of money and is a great OS!

But now they have decided to throw that all away and get in bed with Microsoft - what is the world coming too?

Afraid for Qt (2)

slashbart (316113) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972864)

I'm afraid for the Qt future. It's a great toolkit, but it's very much cross-platform, so Microsoft will kill it.

Re:Afraid for Qt (1)

UngodAus (198713) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972902)

Don't be afraid, Qt's future is secured.

Re:Afraid for Qt (1)

slashbart (316113) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972908)

you are kidding

Re:Afraid for Qt (4, Informative)

dido (9125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972994)

The GP's correct. There's a poison pill [nokia.com] clause from Nokia's purchase of Trolltech. Basically it says that if Qt ever stops getting released as open source, the KDE Free Qt Foundation gets to release the last version of Qt under the BSD license. I don't think we need to be worried about Qt if such a contingency exists.

Re:Afraid for Qt (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973042)

I disagree. The fear for Qt isn't if Nokia will release it under a closed source license. Even without the Self Destruct, from what we have seen, I doubt Nokia wants to develop software closed or open.
The problem mainly lies in keeping the project under the Nokia banner and slowly downsizing the number of developers, making it not so easy for outside/new developers to participate etc... Think OpenOffice style before the fork. OpenOffice was a pretty difficult project to work on and was rather stagnant, initiatives like Go-OO tried to solve that without forking and succeeded a little, but no one wanted to fork because the project was on the line between people wanting to fork and people just trying to tough it out. The Oracle deal was good in a way as it forced a proper fork and a real opening up of the project.

There are currently not many outside developers working on Qt, if the number of developers in Nokia working on Qt were halved (or quartered (sp?) ) projects like Kde will most definitely feel it. And you might not know about the downsizing for quite a while (how many Nokia employees are working now on Qt? Really hard to say)

Re:projects like Kde will most definitely feel it (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973178)

Hmm, some good comments by AC's among the trolls.

Someone help me connect some dots.

If "projects like Kde will most definitely feel it", is that at all related to why Ubuntu wanted a third UI being thrashed out, even if this iteration isn't so good? Does anyone think this will tip the scales and lead to a KDE decline across the regular linux distros?

Re:Afraid for Qt (2)

gmueckl (950314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973464)

Well, for what reason would they downsize Qt development? There are quite a lot important commercial customers left for Qt (e.g. Autodesk using Qt in 2 of it's products, a large one ported over only recently) and there's a commercial user community as well, so I fail to see how shutting down Qt development would make any sense economically. My current assumption is that Qt development is actually profitable for Nokia.

Thus, even if Nokia would want to rid itself of the Qt developers they wouldn't shut them down. There's still good money to be made in selling all that to a party that is more interested or in spinning it off into a separate company and get a share of the profits.

Qt is not going down, not by a long way.

Re:Afraid for Qt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973062)

But what if Qt just gets developer cuts and ends up stagnating (i.e. without development for years)?
Qt was great because it was developed by a lot of paid developers.

Re:Afraid for Qt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973106)

I don't understand what this is supposed to achieve. Qt is already available under the LGPL. Releasing it under BSD would simply guarantee that no commercial entity would contribute to the LGPL version ever again.

Re:Afraid for Qt (1)

slashbart (316113) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972968)

here [piacentini.blog.br] is the complete scenario of what will happen, told by a guy who has seen the same happen to his small company when it was bought by Adobe, via the same guy that's now running Nokia.
Qt needs to be forked asap.

Re:Afraid for Qt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972992)

Commercial aspects of QT were sold to Digia in march already, so I'd say it's safe for now.

Re:Afraid for Qt (2)

master_p (608214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973268)

Indeed. Many C++ Windows devs have managed to avoid MFC by using Qt. Without Qt, cross-platform Windows apps are nearly impossible.

Re:Afraid for Qt (0)

lehphyro (1465921) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973606)

Java+SWT is miles better.

Re:Afraid for Qt (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973700)

Java? LOL, yeah if you want memory hogging clunky software that is difficult to maintain.

& when accenture was named Arthur Anderson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972878)

they had to change their name due to legal issues like fraud accounting. so it's good that the same guys have returned to being able to purchase stellarity to prop up their chosen ones' pr & 'accounting' practices that we paid their legal bills with our investments in the free felon foundation..

Re:& when accenture was named Arthur Anderson (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973066)

they had to change their name due to legal issues like fraud accounting

Not entirely accurate. What is now Accenture was not part of the fraudulent practices that sank Arthur Anderson, but it shared the name. Distancing them selves from the people in blue suits that made a living out of stealing was a good thing. Why is it, btw, that that one business sector, the blue suits always steal, get caught and get away with it?

FFF; social services for the spiritually bankrupt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973102)

even though it's written that none of us is completely beyond jesiacal redemption, some of us just get beyond the pale, or somehow just don't care about anyone else. for that, & so much more, there's the Free Felon Foundation. formed to meet the needs of the proven to be wrongly unchosen psychotic neogod bigwigs, who just seem to get too much attention sometimes. the thinking remains; black hole soul murderous crooks need support too, & what would would all the so-called good guys do without them?

Symbian is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972900)

They couldn't have picked a worse company to give it to. Accenture were behind a failed withdrawn system at the London stock exchange based on Windows and .NET.

So if you want to give some Windows project to a company they would be a good choice, but Symbian? RIP Symbian is all I can say.

http://blogs.computerworld.com/london_stock_exchange_to_abandon_failed_windows_platform [computerworld.com]

Re:Symbian is dead (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972978)

The cynical observer might argue that, if the real goal is to have an outside hatchetman, rather than the home office, handle 3,000 layoffs, Accenture is very much an acceptable choice...

Necessary moves. (1)

UngodAus (198713) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972910)

Seriously, how can this be seen as anything but a clearing of work-area? 7000 engineers that couldn't build a killer product?! Even meego was more pipe-dream than real product. People seem to forget that nokia has a multi-pronged strategy going on. It's not just the microsoft deal going on, there's also the Next Billion project, and Rich Green's Disruptive Technologies. I think this move has been nothing but necessary.

Re:Necessary moves. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972976)

Completely agree. Nokia have correctly realised that they cannot compete with Apple, Microsoft and Google when it comes to building operating systems. Their business model must move on, just as it has in the past.

Death by a thousand prongs. (2)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973128)

People seem to forget that nokia has a multi-pronged strategy going on.

Not just multi... Thousand pronged!

4 software platforms, 130 different phones. You can just SMELL the success!

Poor Apple on the other hand have, just 1 phone, 1 tablet. The losers!
 

Nokia releases Symbian code, 3 or 4 overjoyed (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972914)

Nokia, through Accenture, has made the code for the Symbian smartphone OS a "community project", putting several aging geeks in raptures of delight [newstechnica.com] .

"The Symbian OS will delight those of us who fondly remember EPOC on the Psion NetBook," said Larry Berkin, Symbian's head of global alliances. "God, that was an OS. Best PDA ever. Finest of British engineering. Sixteen whole kilobytes! You could run a truck over them. I bet an open source Symbian OS will let you run a truck over your phone."

The Foundation hopes to pit Symbian against Windows Mobile, which Nokia has replaced Symbian with. "There's no way it can compete against our superior features, like WAP browsing, infrared connect to your laptop and, of course, the serial port." It also hopes to set the stage for a march on the USA. "The Americans will fall before our superior engineering! Psion worked on the ZX81, you know."

There are currently about 330 million Symbian devices in the world, at least fifteen of whose owners can actually use the web browser without wanting to throw the phone through a window and just get an iPhone. "Just think," said Berkin, "now anyone can improve their phone! Well, they could if Nokia made phones the user could flash. But still!"

Accenture issued a press release about how Symbian was welcomed by free software advocates and other aging hippies. "Developers everywhere will want to study Symbian," said Eben Moglen, "to hack on it, and to write applications for it. This could be even bigger than the Amiga."

April fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35972918)

Hey Guys, Look at the date, it is not 1st April....

Oh wait, Is this real? If so this is a nuclear bomb, eliminating the Symbian guys so you have to program for Windows is the final nail in the coffin of Nokia credibility.

Everything they said in now confirmed false. This is really really bad karma, it does not smell well for Nokia, but is very good for Microsoft.

Ass-Enter (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35972938)

Ass-Enter a.k.a. Andersen Consulting.

Re:Ass-Enter (1)

shuz (706678) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973402)

Accenture split from Andersen Consulting in 1989. Accenture is a global software and IT outsourcing company and is not an Financial outsourcing company. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accenture#Splitting_from_Arthur_Andersen [wikipedia.org]

Re:Ass-Enter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973536)

Andersen Consulting split from Arthur Andersen in 1989. Andersen Consulting rebranded themselves Accenture in 2001. In late 2011 they will fall to increasing public pressure and re-name themselves Ass-Enter.

Core business (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35973006)

Oddly enough, I would expect that one of the core competencies of a phone manufacturer would be phone operating systems. It's, ahem, unusual to see a phone company decide to outsource its operating systems to companies with little experience or success in phone operating systems. Admittedly these are the high end OS's, and there is still a lot of money to be made in the low end, but ceding a whole segment odd.

I can imagine two possibilities: either that Nokia really is in terminal decline, or that they have a hugely promising skunkworks OS under development, and are preparing the ground.

I would like to believe the latter, but given their performance in recent years, I suspect the former.

Transferring employees (2)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973158)

Sounds to me like 3000 employees just finished their last TPS report.

"Hi Mike, yeah.. remeber that TPS report? Yeah.. that one I asked you to yeah.. fill out before the end of April? Yeah, we won't be needing that here anymore, yeah... so if you would just put all your stuff in this box and yeah... head over to Accenture that would be great."

Re:Transferring employees (1)

shuz (706678) | more than 3 years ago | (#35973414)

This is a fact of Business. The 3000 employees that are strong individual performers have nothing to fear. Accenture is not that scary of a company and they certainly are not the axemen that you are making them out to be.
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