Nokia's been in bed with Symbian for many, many years through the development of its S60 platform -- the world's most populous smartphone platform, dont'cha know -- and they're taking that relationship to its endgame today by announcing that they'll be acquiring the remaining shares of Symbian that they don't already own. Here's where it gets interesting, though: rather than taking Symbian's intellectual private for Nokia's own benefit, the goods will be turned over to the Symbian Foundation, a nonprofit whose sole goal will be the advancement of the Symbian platform in its many flavors. Motorola and Sony Ericsson have signed up to contribute UIQ assets, while NTT DoCoMo (which uses Symbian-based wares in a number of its phones) will be donating code as well.

Other Symbian Foundation members include Texas Instruments, Vodafone, Samsung, LG, and AT&T (yep, the same AT&T that currently sells precisely one Symbian-based phone), so things could get interesting. The move clearly seems to be a preemptive strike against Google's Open Handset Alliance, LiMo, and other collaborative efforts forming around the globe with the goal of standardizing smartphone operating systems; the writing was on the wall, and Symbian didn't want to miss the train. Total cash outlay for the move will run Nokia roughly €264 million -- about $410 million in yankee currency.

Update: It's worth noting that the foundation plans to make the entire platform available as open source in the next two years -- "select components" at launch.

Read - Creation of Symbian Foundation
Read - Acquisition of Symbian by Nokia