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Symbian taken over by Nokia

Nokia has bought out handset software firm in a multimillion dollar deal

According to the BBC, mobile phone manufacturer Nokia, which already owns 48% of Symbian, is paying 264m euros ($410m) to buy out other shareholders in the firm with the goal of creating a free mobile phone operating system.

Sony Ericsson, Ericsson, Panasonic and Siemens have all agreed to sell their stakes in the firm, with Samsung also expected to accept the offer. The dramatic decision is in response to the growing threat from Nokia's rivals like Google who are working on developing their own open and economical platform for mobile devices called Android.

Symbian announced that the takeover was a fundamental move in the establishment of the Symbian Foundation that's expected to start operating in the first half of 2009 and aims to bring together Nokia, AT&T, LG, Motorola, NTT Docomo, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone to collaborate on a new, royalty-free open software platform for mobile phones.

More than 200 million Symbian OS based phones have been shipped worldwide and the popular operating system today accounts for approximately 7% of the mobile devices market.