Recent news that Nokia would buy Symbian and put it together with its own S60 user interface into the new Symbian Foundation has sparked quite some interest. One reason for this move is that the operating system and the user interface is more and more seen as a platform which is better to distribute to as many players as possible than to use it as a differentiator. Differentiation should come from the applications running on the platform.
Recently, due to a one day outage of ProfiMail on my N95, I became aware of just how dependant I have become on my N95 from software that is not directly from Nokia, i.e. that didn’t come in the box when I bought the device. Together with OperaMini, Profimail are the main applications I use on my mobile device. Should both companies decide to leave the business (o.k. very unlikely but just imagine for a moment) I would be without a real alternative since both programs communicate with the mothership in order to function.
Sure, there are other browsers and other eMail clients but these two are definitely unique and I couldn’t replace them easily with others for my purposes. On the one hand this is good news for Nokia since third party programs have become a strong pillar in the overall value chain and thus promote the versatility of their platform. But on the other hand there is also a certain vulnerability as their own products are not where the competition is in a number of important areas, at least for my purposes.