updated 04:15 pm EDT, Mon October 25, 2010
Symbian Foundation may close outright
A potentially impactful rumor today has suggested the Symbian Foundation may close down. A tipster reportedly close to Symbian mentioned that its executive director's abrupt departure and its instituting its CFO Tim Holbrow as a replacement was really a pretext to wind down the company's operations. The Register source blamed a lack of funding and mentioned that staff were being given severance packages.
No deadline was given in the leak, but the end of Symbian's fiscal year at the end of March was considered a likely candidate.
Symbian wouldn't comment on the rumor in question but did say its future was "under review" by its board of directors. It also acknowledged that Tim Holbrow's position was permanent and not a placeholder.
The platform has come under attack in recent months as some of its once loyal partners have been drifting away to other, typically more modern platforms. Samsung has revealed that it plans to drop Symbian outright by the end of 2010 and will move its efforts to Android, Bada and Windows Phone. Sony Ericsson hasn't left the Foundation but has stopped making Symbian phones.
If the two fully quit the Symbian Foundation, they could gut the organization's tight $28 million in yearly funding. Nokia is now left shouldering virtually all of the burden of the group, which itself was spun off to distance Nokia from the project it helped establish. It's now focusing on its Intel co-developed MeeGo OS for its high-end devices and is leaving Symbian to its mid-range phones. It has since moved to a constant update model for Symbian that might obviate the need for an external developer to put out major milestone releases.
Symbian as a whole has been on the decline in market share and has been criticized for only just recently adding features like multi-touch and a modern web browser while still missing simple-to-navigate settings.