Symbian vs Google

5:15 PM -- The prevailing wisdom around Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s buyout of the rest of Symbian Ltd. and its plans to make the platform open-source in 2009 seems to be that the move is bad for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and its similar Android OS project. (See Mobile OS Wars: Nokia Snaps Up Symbian.)

It is easy to see why: Symbian, which is the largest mobile phone OS vendor in the world with a 65 percent market share, is taking a leaf from the Google playbook and taking its well established code open-source and royalty-free. That has to be bad news for the search giant, right?

I'm not so sure, simply because I'm not sure that Google is in the mobile OS business to be a software player. If we assume that Google really wants to use a mobile OS to drive its advertising revenue on a whole class of devices then the plaform itself doesn't particularly matter, as long as it's open enough that users can access the Google search engine.

In fact, Symbian has already said that Google and others will be able to develop applications on top of an open and free Symbian. So, much like the 700 MHz auctions, as long as this committment to "open" holds then Google has actually got what it really wanted in the first place: unfettered access.

What think you of this OS kerfuffle? Take our new poll here.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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