Nokia Finalises Symbian Handover To Accenture

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Nokia has finalised the agreement to hand over the Symbian operating system to services giant Accenture

Nokia has finalised its agreement with Accenture, which will see the IT services giant take control of the development and support of the Symbian operating system going forward.

The outsourcing deal was first announced in late April, but had been widely expected ever since Nokia had announced in February its decision to opt for Windows Phone 7 as its principal smartphone mobile operating system.

Under the terms of the agreement Accenture will provide Symbian based software development and support services to Nokia through 2016. This comes after some speculation about how long Symbian would actually be supported following the Windows Phone 7 decision.

Ongoing Commitment?

Earlier this year a Nokia executive in Australia had hinted that Symbian support would end by 2014. But at the end of May Nokia CEO Stephen Elop used a video interview on Nokia’s Conversations China blog to confirm that Symbian support would continue until at least 2016.

As part of the outsourcing deal, 2,800 Nokia employees located in China, Finland, India, United Kingdom and the United States will transfer to Accenture when the deal is closed, probably in early October.

“Our collaboration with Accenture allows us to meet our ongoing commitment to support our Symbian smartphone customers and continue to leverage the talent that has the deepest experience on the platform,” said Jo Harlow, executive VP for Smart Devices at Nokia.

“As we move our primary smartphone platform to Windows Phone, we will look to explore potential opportunities to tap this talent pool as they develop and expand their knowledge and capabilities beyond Symbian,” Harlow added.

Development Support

“We look forward to partnering with Nokia as they continue to support Symbian and transition to the Windows Phone ecosystem,” said Marty Cole, chief executive, Accenture Communications and High Tech group.

“The highly skilled group of technologists and engineers transferring to Accenture will complement our current mobility skills and enhance the breadth, depth and scale of our capabilities, allowing us to meet the growing global demand for mobility services across many industries,” Cole added.

The agreement calls for Accenture to support and further develop Nokia’s Symbian platform and to become the preferred supplier to Nokia on their transition to Windows Phone.

Of course Accenture already owns the professional services unit of Nokia after it acquired the unit back in October 2009.

Nokia Changes

The move comes amid a range of changes at the Finnish handset maker as it seeks to shore up its position in the face of the Apple/Android onslaught.

Earlier this week it unveiled its N9 smartphone – the first and last Nokia handset that will run the Linux-based MeeGo operating system. And today Nokia announced plans to launch a new ‘Location & Commerce’ business unit, formed by the integration of its Navteq mapping business and social location services operations.

Other changes include phasing out the Ovi name, and starting an initiative (Invent With Nokia) to ask people for ideas, and pay them if they decide to use them.

Meanwhile Accenture said it will also work with Avanade, a technology service company that is focused on Microsoft technologies (and which is majority owned by Accenture) to provide further services to Nokia.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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