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Linux wars: how will Symbian strike back?

Analysts at ABI Research have put out a report that’s sure to delight the hearts of Linux fan boys everywhere: the company says that by 2013, mobile Linux will be the second place operating system behind Symbian with 23 percent of the market.

ABI says that in the coming years, Linux wars will see the open source heavyweights whittled down to just two: the LiMo Foundation and Google’s Android, with other variants like Nokia’s Maemo carving out niches with particular form factors.

Perhaps the most interesting bit of the report is its predictions for the future of Symbian: “ABI Research found that Nokia’s poor position in the Americas resulted in a 2007 share of only 4 percent for Symbian in the American smartphone market. It is imperative that Symbian looks to grow its share of the North American market by gaining more traction from other handset vendors that are performing well there. Otherwise, the company could face a situation whereby its leadership in the European markets is challenged by a combination of a resurgent Windows and emerging Linux, while simultaneously being locked out of the North American market.”

It’s going to be a tough call for Symbian – it’s always been haunted by the shadow of Nokia, which owns most of the company, and it seems that most other handset makers have dabbled with the Symbian operating system but preferred to stick with old favourites like their own proprietary software for the bulk of their handsets. It looks like Symbian better start hoping Nokia can get its act together and start shifting some serious volume in the states.

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