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Nokia and Accenture finalize Symbian deal

Nokia Head Office (Espoo)

Nokia and Accenture have finalized the terms of their deal announced last April that will see Accenture take over development and support for Symbian, which for years has been the heart and soul of Nokia’s mobile phone empire. Under the terms of the deal, Accenture will take on about 2,800 Nokia employees from Finland, China, India, the United States, and the United Kingdom—a figure slightly lower than the 3,000 or so employees the companies initially announced. Accenture will also continue developing the Symbian platform and continue to provide support services for Symbian through 2016.

Nokia is, of course, shifting its mobile phone lineup to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, with the first Nokia Windows Phone devices due to hit the market later this year. The Symbian deal with Accenture is expected to close in early October.

“We look forward to partnering with Nokia as they continue to support Symbian and transition to the Windows Phone ecosystem,” said Accenture communications and high tech chief executive Marty Cole, in a statement.”The highly skilled group of technologists and engineers transferring to Accenture will complement our current mobility skills and enhance the breadth, depth and scale of our capabilities, allowing us to meet the growing global demand for mobility services across many industries.”

The deal requires Accenture to continue development of the Symbian platform, and Accenture will become the “preferred supplier” to Nokia on their transition to Windows Phone—Accenture will be working with Avanade, a tech services company that focuses on Microsoft technology and is majority-owned by Accenture, to provide services to Nokia. Accenture also anticipates it will retrain and redeploy some of the employees it onboards from Nokia.

Although Symbian doesn’t have many customers in the North American market, phone makers in Japan and some emerging markets are still building handsets around the platform—Symbian also sees some use in embedded systems. However, Accenture’s primary customer for Symbian services will be Nokia itself as the company shifts from Symbian devices (many aimed at emerging economies) to a product line based entirely on Windows Phone.