Microsoft on Symbian's open-source move: Good luck with that

Microsoft on Symbian's open-source move: Good luck with that

There's even a bit less fragmentation in the Linux realm

The fact that the "new" Symbian software will be licensed at no charge will not pressure Microsoft to reduce its licensing fees, Rockfeld says. "The cost of the OS is an unbelievably small fraction of what it takes to deliver the phone to market," he says.

In fact, open source code can actually increase costs for manufacturers and carriers, Rockfeld says. That's because they have to do more development work, more customization work, and take more risks because they lack a reliable platform partner -- like Microsoft. "With us, they don't have to worry about the platform," he says.

Microsoft sees mobile phones as adjuncts to the desktop and laptop PCs where it dominates. "People are demanding more out of their phones -- in multimedia, in how they surf the Web -- and they want the exact experience as on their PC," Rockfeld says. "Windows mobile is a great complement to the 1 billion PCs [worldwide]," he says.

Rockfeld cites as an example the experience of fishermen in the Indian Ocean, who, he says, use Windows Mobile phones to check the current price of fish at various ports, then steer for the one with the best price. There was one such project in 2007, though this reference doesn't mention what kind of mobile phones were used. And Harvard University's Robert Jensen earlier researched the impact of cell phones on fish prices in India's Kerala state, though neither the linked article nor one of Jensen's technical presentations mentions the type of mobile phone.

Rockfeld says users in emerging countries, whose first Internet and computing experience increasingly is with a smartphone, will want to "progress to [Windows] desktops" once they experience Windows Mobile.

Unless perhaps they experience the Apple iPhone. Or Research In Motion's BlackBerry. Or a Symbian smartphone. Or a Linux smartphone.

It's a fragmented world.

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