Bad news Symbian fans, as Symbian Foundation CEO Lee Williams will be leaving for nebulous “personal reasons” and he will be replaced by the foundation’s CFO, Tim Holbrow. We don’t know why Lee Williams is leaving but this cannot bode well for Symbian.
Lee Williams came from Nokia and was tasked with making Symbian and the foundation an independent organization that made Apple, Google and others tremble. He was the organization’s public face and routinely said he wanted to make Apple cry. It hasn’t quite worked out that way.
As a true open source project, it took a long time for Symbian^3 to get out the door. We’ve seen it on devices like the E7 and N8 and it still seems a few steps behind the competition.
Don’t get me wrong, Symbian is still a highly-capable OS but it lacks the polish, flair and developer excitement which surround Android, iOS and maybe even Windows Phone 7. What’s worse is that the early versions of Symbian^4 we’ve seen still look behind and that’s about a year away.
One of the major goals of Lee Williams was to make people realize that the foundation was a strong, independent organization that isn’t just propped up by Nokia. I believe he has failed at this job, as the only major handsets we’ve seen using the open-source version of Symbian come from Nokia.
I’m not alone in that thinking, as Samsung and Sony Ericsson have also dropped support for this smartphone platform in favor of Google’s Android.
Android has also been eating the foundation’s lunch, even though some would argue that the commercially-viable version of Android isn’t as “open” as Symbian is. That hasn’t seemed to matter much, as handset makers and consumers are favoring the more polished Android.
What’s your take, friends?
[Via Mobile Industry Review]