So it seems the Symbian Foundation isn't necessarily going away, but it's transitioning its role in a big, big way. They're undertaking a "strategic change" that will involve the Foundation moving to a new role where it controls the product's patent portfolio and licenses the Symbian brand and its research and development activities, but the meat of the operation -- the actual platform development -- will move over to Nokia beginning the end of March next year. For its part, Nokia says that it's still "strongly committed" to the platform, it just won't be the Foundation throwing it together. Interestingly, the Symbian Exposition is this week in Amsterdam, so we suspect we'll be hearing a lot more about this over the next few days. Is it just us, or is Mr. Elop making his presence felt very, very quickly? For what it's worth, the Foundation is explaining that a board meeting held just today played a big role in this decision and sudden announcement -- though there was a call for media, we received notice of it just minutes before the event. Follow the break for both Symbian's and Nokia's press releases.

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Nokia commits to make the Symbian platform available under an alternative open model

AMSTERDAM, SYMBIAN EXCHANGE & EXPOSITION (SEE), NOVEMBER 8, 2010 – Following a strategy review, the board of the Symbian Foundation has today decided to transition the role of the non-profit organisation. The foundation will become a legal entity responsible for licensing software and other intellectual property, such as the Symbian trademark. Nokia has committed to make the future development of the Symbian platform available to the ecosystem via an alternative direct and open model.

"The founding board members took a bold strategic step in setting up the foundation, which was absolutely the right decision at the time," says Tim Holbrow, executive director, Symbian Foundation. "There has since been a seismic change in the mobile market but also more generally in the economy, which has led to a change in focus for some of our funding board members. The result of this is that the current governance structure for the Symbian platform – the foundation - is no longer appropriate.

"However, the platform enjoys strong support from some of the largest and most innovative device creators in the world. And we continue to see solid momentum behind the platform, with 25 percent of all Symbian-based devices shipping in the last 12 months.*

"I'm immensely proud of the work we've done at the Symbian Foundation. Perhaps most notably, in the last year we've delivered the biggest open source project ever in releasing the entire Symbian codebase under an open source license, and we did it four months ahead of schedule."

The first phase of the foundation's transition will involve a reduction in operations and staff numbers. By April 2011, the Symbian Foundation will be governed by a group of non-executive directors tasked with overseeing the organisation's licensing function.

"Nokia remains committed to Symbian as the most used smartphone platform around the world," said Jo Harlow, senior vice president, Smartphones, Nokia. "The Nokia N8 generated the highest online pre-orders we've ever experienced and we have a family of Symbian^3 smartphones including the Nokia N8, Nokia C7, and Nokia C6-01 which are available now, as well as the Nokia E7 which is expected to ship before the end of 2010. Nokia expects to sell more than 50 million Symbian^3 smartphones."

The Symbian Foundation leadership team will work together with Nokia to ensure that the reduction in operations of the foundation will bring as little disruption to the ecosystem as possible. Further details of this process will be shared at a later date.

Today's announcement does not affect the Symbian Exchange & Exposition (SEE 2010), which will commence on November 9th in Amsterdam. SEE 2010 will bring together attendees from over 55 countries to engage, exchange and explore opportunities offered by the Symbian platform. For more information about the event, visit www.see2010.org.

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Nokia reaffirms commitment to Symbian platform

As Symbian Foundation announces changes, a new era of Symbian development and innovation begins

Espoo, Finland - Following an announcement by the board of the Symbian Foundation that it will be transitioning from its current operational activities to become a licensing operation only, Nokia today reaffirmed its commitment to the Symbian platform. Nokia plans to continue to invest its own resources in developing Symbian, the world's most widely used smartphone platform, and expects to deliver a strong portfolio of Symbian-based smartphones to people around the world.

"The future of Symbian as a platform does not depend on the existence of the foundation," said Jo Harlow, Senior Vice President, Smartphones, Nokia. "The changes announced by the foundation have no impact on Nokia's Symbian device roadmaps or shipping commitments. The platform powers hundreds of millions of smartphones - including our own - and we expect to deliver ongoing support and innovation benefitting the Symbian ecosystem in the future."

Nokia's recent decision to focus on Qt as its sole application development framework is expected to bring greater efficiency and speed of evolution to the Symbian platform. This approach is aimed at ensuring compatibility for apps with future Symbian platform versions, and enables more frequent updates and upgrades for Nokia smartphones. To take advantage of this ever-growing opportunity, developers can find the tools and support they need through Forum Nokia, and global distribution to Nokia's broad base of smartphones through Ovi Store.

Nokia is the volume market leader in smartphones and the company's commitment to the Symbian platform is unchanged. Nokia smartphones based on the new Symbian platform include the Nokia N8, Nokia C7 and the new Nokia C6-01 which are available now, as well as the upcoming Nokia E7 which is expected to ship before the end of 2010. Nokia expects to sell more than 50 million Symbian^3-based devices.

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Nokia taking over Symbian development, Foundation responsible for licensing