Nokia said it would buy out other shareholders of smartphone software maker Symbian for US$410 million

Samsung has accepted Nokia’s offer to buy out its stake in software firm Symbian, and Nokia now has acceptances from all Symbian shareholders to sell their shares.

Nokia said in June it would buy out other shareholders of UK-based smartphone software maker Symbian and make its software royalty-free to other phone makers in response to new rivals such as Google.

Symbian’s assets will be contributed by Nokia to the not-for-profit organization, Symbian Foundation, in which it would unite with leading handset makers, network operators and communications chipmakers.

It aims to create a group offering members a royalty-free license mobile software platform using open-source coding.
Earlier, in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, Symbian’s chief executive, Nigel Clifford, hinted that there could be future consolidation among mobile phone platform makers.

However, he declined to comment specifically on partnerships or co-operation with rival products such as the Google-backed Android, Microsoft’s Window’s Mobile, or Research In Motion’s Blackberry platform.

“We have seen consolidation in the past, and, I’m sure, as the market place matures, as every other market place has done, we will see a consolidation in the future,” he said.

“Whether we participate in that, will be a decision for the Foundation when that is up and running next year.”

Clifford said a demand for service-rich smartphones is expected to be a catalyst for success in telecommunications markets such as the US.

Earlier this week, Symbian’s reported that 19.6 million handsets with its operating system were shipped in second quarter 2008, bringing the total cumulative number of Symbian handsets in the market to 225.9 million.

However, the company said the average royalty per unit declined from US$4.40 in the first half of 2007 to US$3.70 in the first half of 2008.

Symbian said the reason for the decline was because licensees were migrating to the v9 of Symbian OS, which has a different licensing pricing structure.

There are currently 159 Symbian phone models available globally from eight handset vendors. Another 92 handsets are in development.

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