Bloomberg News

Nokia Completes Accord to Contract Out Symbian to Accenture

September 30, 2011

(Updates with Accenture executive’s comments starting in second paragraph, Nokia spokesman’s in fourth.)

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Nokia Oyj, the world’s largest mobile phone maker by units, completed a deal to contract out its Symbian software development to Accenture Plc as the manufacturer shifts to Microsoft Corp. as a platform supplier.

Symbian’s future “will be determined by Nokia based on the capabilities they put into it and how they push it in the marketplace, and we’ll be supporting that,” said Marty Cole, head of the Accenture communications, media and technology unit handling the work, said in an interview.

Nokia Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop adopted Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 as the company’s main smartphone platform in February, sidelining Symbian. About 2,300 employees will shift to Accenture, Espoo, Finland-based Nokia said today, 700 fewer than outlined in April when the plan was announced.

The Symbian workers will stay at Nokia sites for the time being and there are currently no plans to move them, Cole said by phone.

About 1,200 of the workers shifting to Accenture are in Finland, Nokia spokesman Doug Dawson said by telephone. The rest are in the U.S., the U.K., India and China. Another 700 Symbian division employees “have found new roles either within Nokia or outside it” since April, he said.

Microsoft Transfer Help

Accenture, the world’s second-largest technology-consulting company, will also help Nokia shift from Symbian to Windows Phone, Cole said. The Dublin-based company has worked with Nokia since the mid-1990s and has a Seattle subsidiary called Avanade that it set up with Microsoft to build services based on the software maker’s products.

Accenture, which has 236,000 employees worldwide, is expanding its mobile practice, which aims to build more applications for clients in such industries as health care, commerce, banking and automobile systems, Cole said.

Nokia will continue to be responsible for the architecture, component definitions and scheduling of future Symbian releases, Cole said. It has committed to supporting the 10-year-old Symbian system through 2016, which is also the time frame of the contract with Accenture.

The handset maker has revamped the system for touchscreen devices and shipped two major updates of Symbian this year, Symbian Anna and Symbian Belle.

--Editors: Tom Lavell, Kenneth Wong

To contact the reporter on this story: Diana ben-Aaron in Helsinki at dbenaaron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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