Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2003 (Revised March 2004)

Symbian: Setting the Mobility Standard

by Fernando F. Suarez and Thomas R. Eisenmann

Abstract

Symbian, a joint venture owned by companies who collectively sold a dominant share of the world's cell phones, faced competition from Microsoft in developing the operating system for "smartphones," which integrated mobile communications and computing functions. In 2003, Symbian's challenges included: 1) persuading its owners to adopt Symbian software rather than internally developed solutions; 2) determining whether to cede enterprise markets to Microsoft and focus only on much larger consumer segments; and 3) strengthening relationships with cellular network operators, whom Microsoft had targeted as alliance partners after it was unable to sell software to Symbian's owners.

Keywords: Competition; Joint Ventures; Information Technology; Software; Wireless Technology; Mobile Technology; Information Technology Industry; Telecommunications Industry;

Citation:

Suarez, Fernando F., and Thomas R. Eisenmann. "Symbian: Setting the Mobility Standard." Harvard Business School Case 804-076, October 2003. (Revised March 2004.)