Battle for Mobile Dominance Escalates

Lest anyone thought that Apple and Google’s latest assaults on Nokia’s dominance in the mobile space would go unchallenged, news came out today that Nokia is acquiring the rest of Symbian that it did not already own.

This would be interesting news by itself, but Nokia, recognizing that its future as a handset manufacturer is at risk ratcheted up the competition at the same time.

How are they doing this?

By making the bold and correct move of making Symbian instantly the largest open source mobile platform through its transfer to an entity called the Symbian Foundation. Nokia really has no other choice but to make this move. RIM is evolving to become a more capable competitor, PALM and Motorola are both making their last ditch efforts to save themselves, Samsung and HTC continue to gather strength, Apple is opening up and poised to gain significant share, and Google has already launched an open source platform.

So who stands to lose the most as a result of Nokia’s move?

Probably Google…

Google launched the android platform to try and ensure their search advertising dominance moves from the desktop/laptop world into the mobile world. Developers looking for an open source solution for their applications (corporate or otherwise) are more likely to choose a more robust and widely adopted OS like Symbian now that they have the choice.

And also Microsoft…

Windows Mobile has the advantage of trying to pair with Windows Live and Windows Vista, but with open source Symbian on one side and Apple on the other, Microsoft may end up stuck in the middle. Not quite as a elegant as the Apple offering, and more expensive and closed than the Symbian offering. Now of course Linux hasn’t overtaken Windows in the PC market, but the mobile market is more of a green field and people are still defining their expectations of a mobile OS. Unfortunately this environment favors Symbian and Apple.

Which of those two will win the race, remains to be seen…

What do you think?

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Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Design Thinking, Innovation and Transformation Consultant, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, and helps companies use Human-Centered Change™ to beat the 70% change failure rate. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.

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