This is going to take a lot to process. And there's a lot to be worked out (what does "royalty-free to members of the alliance" mean in practice? Will this be Open like Linux, or 'Open' like...brrrr...AT&T/Verizon Wireless?).
But OMG, IN YOUR FACE, iPhone (6MM handset sold US, 10MM projected by years end) and Google Android Handsets (None sold, nor to be sold soon): Nokia (1 Billion handsets in market) just got all 'Open-Source' Symbian on you.
"On Tuesday, companies including Nokia, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, LG Electronics, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, AT&T, Texas Instruments, STMicroelectronics and Vodafone announced that they will work together to make the Symbian OS open source. They will offer it under a royalty-free license to members of a new nonprofit group called the Symbian Foundation.
Symbian is used in about 60 percent of the world's smartphones [~200MM handsets], which means that open-source software will soon drive the majority of those devices. The proprietary model behind mobile operating systems from Microsoft, Research In Motion and Apple, then, will for the first time be in the minority."
- Nancy Gohring, IDG News Services, Symbian Shifts Mobile World to Open Source, for PC World
200MM handsets in market using Symbian. Sure there will be legacy issues with handsets running older Symbian software, but c'mon. Microsoft's like "yeah, no worries. We don't see much of a change in the short term based on this announcement". That's like the Titanic's captain saying "well, in the light of news about an iceberg dead ahead, we see no need to alter our current course". Dude, did you read the FREE part? The market leader against whom MSoft is struggling for dominance in the mobile OS market [Symbian] just made their product free. Microsoft CHARGES people to use their mobile OS.
"It's unclear whether device manufacturers will want to continue paying high fees for Windows Mobile license when [Nokia] the market leader suddenly cut costs to zero." - J. Nicholas Hoover, Symbian's Open Source Gambit Ups Stakes in Mobile OS War, for Information Week
Really? Unclear whether people will want to pay for something they can have for free?
Nokia just made a BOLD MOVE.