Symbian executive director jumps ship

Symbian has received another nail in its coffin with the Foundation announcing today that its Executive Director, Lee Williams, has left his post.

The announcement follows a turbulent few months for the OS. Earlier this month Samsung announced that it would no longer be using Symbian on its handsets and Sony Ericsson also dropped it from its range. This led analysts Gartner to call the project “an open source failure.”

The departure of Williams, who took over the role two years ago and tried to breathe life into it through a quirky rebranding and meetings with Asian manufacturers in an attempt to get Symbian on a broader range of devices, will come as a blow to the Foundation.  

He will be replaced by Tim Holbrow, formerly the Symbian Foundation’s CFO, to the position of Executive Director.

Patrick Pfandler, lead mobile analyst at Futuresource, told TechEye: “Samsung is expected to focus its OS strategy on Android and Windows Phone 7 for the mid- and high-end market and bada for the low-end. Sony Ericsson’s main focus is on Android and is expected to launch a Windows Phone 7 handset end 2010 or early 2011.

“Despite the loss in support, Symbian is still the number one operating system worldwide and is forecast to account for approximately 40% of smartphone shipments in 2010.

“Although Nokia is losing market share in Western Europe and the USA, mainly due to the impact of Android and iPhone, Symbian S60-powered mobile handsets from Nokia are still in high demand in emerging markets including the Middle East, parts of Asia and Africa.

“It remains to be seen whether phones that run on the latest Symbian^3 platform (such as N8, C7 and E7) will attract consumer spending power, thus providing traction for Symbian and Nokia.”

In a statement the Symbian Foundation said: ‘The Symbian Foundation is today announcing that Lee M. Williams has stepped down from his position as Executive Director for personal reasons. We thank Lee for his work over the past two years and wish him all the best in his future ventures.

The Board of Directors has appointed Tim Holbrow, formerly the Symbian Foundation’s CFO, to the position of Executive Director with immediate effect. We congratulate Tim and welcome him to his new role.’

In September, Gartner released data that predicted Android would come close to passing Symbian as the world’s top smartphone platform in 2014 with 29.6 percent of the market compared to 30.2 percent for Symbian.