Nokia keeps quiet on Psion buyout rumour

Nokia representatives have declined to comment on reports that the company wants to increase its stake in mobile phone software...

Nokia representatives have declined to comment on press reports that the company wants to increase its stake in mobile phone software developer Symbian by acquiring Psion.

Paolo Pescatore, senior analyst for IDC in the UK was not surprised by the rumours. "It would give Nokia more weight on decision-making and forward looking strategy for Symbian."

Nokia has a 32.2% stake in the Symbian mobile phone software consortium, while Psion holds 31.1%. The rest is divided between  Ericsson with 17.5%, Panasonic brand with 7.9%, Siemens with 4.8%, Samsung with 5% and Sony Ericsson  with 1.5%, according to Symbian's website.

Until recently, Motorola had a 19% stake in Symbian. It negotiated the sale of its share to Nokia and Psion, however, and has since been dabbling in phones featuring Linux and Microsoft Smartphone software.

A representative for Nokia in Finland said the company "would not comment on market rumours", and Psion representatives also declined to comment on the reports.

Still, Pescatore believed the move should not be ruled out.

A Psion buyout would ensure Nokia greater control over the design and function of the Symbian operating system and give the company an edge when competing with Microsoft and Asian handset providers, he said.

Although Symbian is the leading mobile phone OS at the moment, Pescatore said "there is a war going on out there", and that Microsoft's strength "cannot be underestimated". 

Mobile phone consumers are looking for familiarity with the user interface, and the similar look and feel between Microsoft's mobile phone and desktop software could give it an edge in the next few years, he added.

Pescatore warned, however, that Nokia would have to look very closely at acquiring Symbian in its entirety since the software developer was created by a number of handset manufacturers to be used in a variety of mobile devices.

Fear of total Nokia control could have been the reason why Motorola sold off its share in Symbian, he speculated.

Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service

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